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The affect Overnutrition has on public health issues
Would Approaching Overnutrition in healthcare as a Public Health Issue decrease rates of chronic in lower income areas in America?
From a Future Nurse’s Perspective
April 25, 2021
West Coast University
Evidence of connection: Overnutrition and the low-income community
A vital relationship exists between overnutrition and poverty, causing obesity. Poverty leads to financial constraints that in turn lead to the consumption of cheap foods, primarily carbohydrates, and fats rather than nutritionally dense food (Siddiqui, Salam, Lassi, & Das, 2020). The accessibility of nutritious foods is limited to those who suffer financially and have major disadvantages when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Poverty amplifies the risk of, and risks from overnutrition. People who are poor are more likely to be affected by different forms of malnutrition. In addition, overnutrition increases health care costs, reduces productivity, and slows economic growth, which justifies the epidemic for obesity in low-income communities (World Health Organization, 2020).
A study has shown that competing costs for other necessities – rent and fuel reproduce the “Engel’s Phenomenon”. At the poverty level, the total income goes to pay the obligate expenses and the cost of necessities – 1/3 for food, 1/3 for housing, and 1/3 for other necessary expenses. Only past poverty incomes do discretionary income appear where discretionary income equals total income minus the cost of obligate expenses and necessities (Karp, Cheng, & Meyers, 2005). This goes to show that the low-income community lean towards the most economical options for food rather than the healthier option since their income only suffices for the bare minimum just to maintain a living in the United States.
Understanding of the number people that are low income plays a vital part in understanding the intensity of the situation. The official poverty rate of the country in 2019 was at 10% that is down 1.3% points compared to the number that was at 11.8% in 2018. The number is the lowest since 1959 indicating a positive economic performance. The estimated number based on the percentage explained is at 34 million individuals that live in poverty. The number is 4.2 million less compared to the previous year. The Hispanic and African American communities are the ones that are most affected with the ailment which is a positive issue in place that needs to be perfectly understood and reflected upon. The practice contributes to poor nutrition among the minority communities in the country in a negative contributing to the chronic ailments among the individuals.
Obesity is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It causes more than 2.8 million deaths each year. Statistically speaking, 32.5% of adults are obese. Another 32.5% of American adults are overweight. In all, more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Around 17% of American children ages 2 to 19 are obese. That’s more than 12.7 million American children. One in eight preschoolers is obese (Holland, 2020). The number of affected individuals in the country explains the negative implications of living as a low-income family. The number of deaths explains the intensity obese that needs to be contained which is a positive issue that needs to be reflected upon. Overweight is a key issue that was identified based on poor nutrition associated with the inability of low-income communities to buy nutritious meals. The number of children affected by overweight cases is a key issue of concern that needs to be positively reflected upon in a positive way. Such cases need to be addressed before they negatively impact the future. Chances of the chronic ailments increasing are a factor that needs to be considered as it might affected. Controlling the rates of obesity positively play out as it reduces the chances of chronic diseases affecting the populous.
These numbers continue to skyrocket and continue to be an issue on a daily basis. Overnutrition will lead to chronic diseases and health issues such as Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke.
Medical Condition One: Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a long-term (chronic) condition that results in too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream. The consequences to high blood sugar levels lead to disorders of the circulatory, nervous and immune systems (mayoclinic, 2021). It can be described as an impairment that affects the manner in which the body uses and regulates the sugar as fuel. The ailment is a chronic condition that normally results to the existence of excessive sugars circulating within the bloodstream of a person. The high levels of blood sugar leads to the creation of disorders on the immune, nervous and circulatory systems. Type 2 diabetes has two interrelated problems. The pancreas does not provide enough insulin that is a hormone that normally regulates the sugar movement within the body cells. The cells that have a poor response to the insulin result in taking in fewer sugars. The ailment can kick-start at both childhood and adulthood levels. However, type 2 diabetes is more common among adults. Apparently, understanding the cause of the ailment plays an important part in the provision of a long-term solution in containing or preventing it.
Researchers found that living in poverty in the two years prior to diagnosis increased the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 24 percent, a risk not changed when factoring in weight or physical activity. Living in poverty at any time increased the risk by 26 percent (Diabetesincontrol, 2010). Low-income communities are the victims of type 2 diabetes based on their inability to have a proper nutrition. They depend on cheap food with poor nutrition leading to the development of chronic problems such as obesity. The factors increase the chances of the low-income communities being victims of the ailment. Living in poverty has been identified as they key factor behind the ailment because poor nutrition from childhood leads to the development of the condition. Taking key issues such as proper nutrition enables an individual to observe a healthy living is the critical point of focus that has to be utilized to encourage better practices. Understanding such factors plays an important part in enabling the creation of better nutrition among low-income communities to reduce the prevalence of the ailment within the communities and encouraging a better healthy life.
A study designed to examine the relationship between neighborhood walkability and risk of developing diabetes, for example, found that the risk of developing diabetes was three times higher among adults living in a low-income/low walkability neighborhood than in a high-income/high walkability area (JIANG, 2013). In an American economic setting, yearly research indicates that low-income communities are more vulnerable to diabetes type 2. The factor is associated with the hazardous environment in which they reside in. factors such as dependency on fast foods with high calories contributes to the development of the condition. Unhealthy behaviors observed within the communities such as lack of exercising leads to the development of type 2 diabetes among the adults. The poor habits are identified such as too much eating and minimal movement. Such factors make Asian, black and Hispanic communities to be the victims of type 2 diabetes. The action calls for important actions that is focused on the wellbeing of such communities based on the fact that the numbers continue rising. The relevance of ensuring that appropriate actions are put in place is a key responsibility that needs to be done. The findings of this paper indicate that there is not enough access to health care with local community-based resources for diabetes self-management for low-income communities and discusses the findings on this issue recognizing poverty as a leading cause for type 2 diabetes.
Medical Condition two: Heart Disease
The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart. Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack (CDC, 2021). CAD develops in a situation where the blood vessels supplying the heart with blood get damaged. The practice takes place in situations where cholesterol-containing deposits in the inflammation and coronary arteries become affected. The coronary arteries play a major role in supplying nutrients, oxygen and blood to the heart. Any form of buildup plague can lead to the narrowing of the arteries leading to the decrease in the flow of blood within the heart. The reduced rate of blood flow leads to the occurrence of shortness in breath and chest pains which are the signs and symptom. A complete form of blockage leads to the development of a heart attack. It is difficult for majority of individuals to notice its development because it takes decades before the disease is noticed within a person. Observing a healthy lifestyle is an important action to prevent it.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of the CAD plays an important part in ensuring that it is diagnosed and controlled. Apparently, the decreased blood flow may not cause the ailment. However, other factors are easy to identify and reflect upon. Apparently, chest pains are a symptom that involves feeling tightness within the chest. This is as if someone is standing on the chest (CDC, 2021). It referred to as Angina that occurs on the left or middle part of the chest. It is normally triggered by emotional or physical stress. Shortness in breath is the other common symptom that can be identified. The practice comes in place when the heart fails to pump enough blood to meet up the needs of the body. Heat attacks normally occur where there is a complete blockage of the coronary artery that is a practice that involves complete pressure on the chest.
Overnutrition can cause High blood lipids, high triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol. Also, High blood pressure which can be an indicator for heart failure (CDC, 2021). Unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as poor nutrition and diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and smoking, can lead to atherosclerosis. When the heart weakness, it can cause arrythmias which is considered to be irregular heart rhythms causing tachycardia (fast heartbeat), bradycardia (slow heartbeat), premature contractions (early heartbeat), and atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat). These are all indications that the heart is not pumping blood properly throughout the body which can lead to a heart failure or even a heart attack.
Medical Condition three: Stroke
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die. High blood pressure is one of the causes for a stroke and can damage body functions (American Stroke Association, 2021).
Stroke leads to the immediate death of brain cells. It is a medical emergency that needs to be treated as critical because it may lead to the permanent brain damage and other forms of complications. it is important to understand the early indicators of stroke in order to prevent. Factors such as trouble in speaking and conceptualizing what other people are saying is a key indicator. Numbness of the leg, arm or face is the other symptoms. It often affects a single part of the body (American Stroke Association, 2021). Developing problems with vision is the other indicator as one starts seeing blurred images. Frequent severe headaches that are accompanied with altered consciousness, dizziness and vomiting are the other common symptoms. Having trouble walking make up the other factor that needs to be addressed.
A study has shown that the association between obesity and increased risk for stroke is substantially explained by hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. Most researchers regard these as intermediate variables (ie, they are each caused by obesity and independently increase the risk of cerebrovascular disease) and, therefore, omit them from models examining the association between obesity and risk for stroke (Kernan et al., 2012). The association of obesity with stroke is an activity needs to be addressed. The figures indicate that obesity affects the body metabolism leading to the excessive circulation of lipids, glucose, cholesterol that led to the creation of harm to the blood vessels within the heart and brain leading to the creation of stroke. The low-income communities are the ones that are most affected with cases of obesity. This exposes them to the chances of developing strike. Apparently, 66% of Americans are affected by obesity making it common for such ailments to develop among them (Kernan et al., 2012). Low-income communities are more likely to be affected prompting the creation of a collective action to ensure that better nutrition is promoted among them in a better way. it is a collective action that the health department focuses on attaining.
Economic Burden: Health care costs
Health service use and medical costs associated with overnutrition/obesity and related diseases have increased and will increase dramatically. Treating obesity and obesity-related conditions costs billions of dollars a year. By one estimate, the U.S. spent $190 billion on obesity-related health care expenses in 2005-double previous estimates (HSPH, 2016). Dealing with the medical costs proves to be a medical burden to the economy. Overall, the consequences of overnutrition may be affected directly and indirectly. Direct ways may be medication costs, hospital costs, and medical examinations. Low-income communities are the ones that are most affected because the prevalence of obesity and its related conditions are common within such societies. Indirect ways may include loss of work in which the individual may not be capable of continuing their job due to the health complications of overnutrition. Being overweight prevents perfect mobility affecting the productivity of employees within their place of work. Looking ahead, researchers have estimated that by 2030, if obesity trends continue unchecked, obesity-related medical costs alone could rise by $48 to $66 billion a year in the U.S (HSPH, 2016). If low-income communities are given the same resources and help as the middle or high-income communities, the US would be saving money down the line which in turn would be saving a lot more individuals, decreasing the mortality rates. The creation of a better economy to reduce the poverty rates and the existence of low-income communities needs to be the productive action in place. Increasing awareness on the relevance of better nutrition and educating the community on the importance of healthy; living is relevant. Ideally, the reduction of the economic burden that comes with obesity is a collective activity of the society.
World Health Organization, N. (2020, April 1). Fact sheets – malnutrition. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malnutrition
Karp, R., Cheng, C., & Meyers, A. (2005, June 28). The appearance of discretionary income: Influence on the prevalence of under- and over-nutrition. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1475-9276-4-10
Holland, K. (2020, July 29). Obesity Facts. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/obesity-facts#1.-More-than-one-third-of-adults-in-the-United-States-are-obese.
JIANG, Y. (2013, November). The Link Between Poverty and Type 2 Diabetes in Rhode Island. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from http://www.rimed.org/rimedicaljournal/2013/11/2013-11-42-health-diabetes.pdf
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Siddiqui, F., Salam, R., Lassi, Z., & Das, J. (2020, July 21). The intertwined relationship between malnutrition and poverty. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2020.00453/full
Diabetesincontrol, N. (2010, November 24). Poverty a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, studies say. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/poverty-a-leading-cause-of-type-2-diabetes-studies-say/
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