Epidemiology

One of the goals of Healthy People 2020 is to reduce health disparities among populations.
Select one of the leading health indicators as identified by Healthy People 2020 and write a
research paper of 750-1,000 words on the health disparities related to that condition. For
the health indicator selected, the paper should include a discussion on the following:
Health Problem

  1. Definition of the problem
  2. Descriptive epidemiology (person, place, time)
  3. Etiology (causes, risk factors)
    Health Disparities
  4. What disparities do we know exist for this disease?
  5. Why do these disparities exist?
  6. What explanations have been offered or supported?
  7. What research questions have not been studied that may provide new, insightful
    information regarding this health problem?
    Public Policy
  8. Why is it an important public health problem?
  9. What are some social, political, or economic barriers in our current health care system
    that impede disease prevention and health promotion for this health problem?
  10. How would you educate/disseminate information about this health problem to the
    public? (target group, financial constraints)
  11. How could one of a health administrator/manager’s general policies or policies specific to
    this health condition impact the health status of the target population?Prepare this
    assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide

Epidemiology

Introduction
Contemporary world faces many problems ranging from health to economics. Health is
one of the most important aspects in determining productivity and viability of a nation or the
global arena. Nevertheless, global arena continues to deteriorate at alarming rate hence posing so

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much panic to health stakeholders. Amazingly, most of the health issues and problems
experienced in the global arena are nutritional and physical-based with few exceptions related to
biology. Obesity is amongst some of the main nutritional and physical-based health issues
currently affecting the global arena. Health practitioners and researchers define obesity as excess
proportion of the total body fat resulting from consumption of higher calories than the amount
burnt within the body (Monteverde et al. 2010).
Health problem
According to Himes (2000), a person is obese when the total weight is 20% above the normal
body weight, which differs from one individual to another based on various factors. An
overweight person has a BMI of between 25 and 29.9 but beyond a BMI of 30 then the
individual is obese. Various statistics and articles indicate the rate at which obesity is causing
economical, medical, biological, physiological, and even psychological problems amongst
patients as well as their surrounding. Motivated by these facts, the following is a discussion on
the epidemic obesity that so far pose great threats no only to individuals but also to the whole
society in the world.
Causes and risk factors of Obesity
Since obesity results from eating more calories than the amount burnt, many people strongly
believe that obesity entails eating too much with very little or no exercises. However, there are
many other causes of obesity other than the idea of too much food with little exercises (Lyons,
Park & Nelson, 2008). One of the main causes of obesity is age. Increases in age often lead to
decreased rate of metabolizing food. In any case, at higher ages people require very little energy
since they are less active. Consequently, most of the assimilated foodstuffs are converted into

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fats deposited under the skin thus forming adipose tissues. Increase in adipose tissues
automatically causes obesity within an individual. Other than age, researchers and health
practitioners identify gender as another factor promoting occurrence of obesity. Studies indicate
that the higher resting metabolic rate in men as compared to their women counterparts reduces
the chance of higher obesity rates in men (Monteverde et al. 2010).Attaining menopause reduces
metabolic rates of women hence leading to increased chances of them being overweight.
Genetics play significant role in defining chances of individuals being obese. Previous studies
indicate that obesity tends to run along individuals within families. This indicates that once an
individual is obese then there is high likelihood that either one of the preceding members of the
family was obese or one of the future generation members of the family will be obese. For
instance, a child born of a thin biological mother has 75% chances of being thin whereas a child
born of a biologically of overweight or obese mother has 75% chances of being an obese child.
In this regards, there is a strong positive correlation between genetics and obesity. Nevertheless,
individuals with genes predisposed to certain health conditions especially obesity have a greater
chance of enhancing their condition through weight loss. On the same perspective however, it is
vital for individuals suspected of having predisposed genes to conditions of obesity to take
effective and efficient precautions in a bid to avoid further complications.
Other risk factors associated with obesity include environmental, physical activities,
psychological, illnesses, and medication factors. An individual’s surrounding plays significant
role in determining possibility of a person becoming obese. Such environmental factors include
lifestyle behaviors that determine both healthy eating habits as well as diets. Physical
inactiveness of individuals on the other hand lead to limited amount of calories burnt within
physiological processes.

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Consequently, much of absorbed food nutrients are converted into fats and stored underneath the
skin to form adipose tissues. This results into obesity. It is undisputable that in most cases
psychological factors may influence both eating habits as well as obesity. Wolin et al. (2009)
identify that most individuals eat more under emotional trauma and torture such as boredom,
anger, or sadness. This leads to binge eating causing obesity within an individual. There are also
evidences that certain specific illnesses are associated with obesity. Examples of such illnesses
and conditions include hormonal problems, depression, hypothyroidism, and diseases related to
brain that are capable of affecting performance of central nervous system with respect to
metabolism. Lastly, some drugs may lead to excessive addition of weight to patients. Such drugs
are antidepressants and steroids.
Health Disparities
 
Different classical risks factors are blamed for increased prevalence of obesity in the
contemporary world. Most traditions during the classical period had poor eating habits, which
have so far been brought forth into current lifestyles. Poor eating habits and diets during the
classical lifestyles are to be blamed for increased prevalence of obesity in the contemporary
world. What’s more, there are groups of people during the classical period that competed in
growing fat. Some cultures presumed that addition of weight is a sign of being wealthy and rich
and this has caused a lot of problems within the contemporary environment (Wolin et al. 2009).
Astonishingly, most classical cultures believed that some physical activities were meant for
specific groups of people and ages. With such notions in the current world, very few people are
engaged in physical activities hence creating a vista for increased development of obesity
amongst different nations. Different cultures believe so much on their staple foods hence

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ignoring the idea of balanced diets. Such communities still practice the same today with
approximately 70% of their meals comprising of their staple foodstuffs. This has led to poor or
unhealthy eating habits causing so much likelihood of developing obesity.
So much of the classical environment, contemporary environment and its activities have
significantly contributed to high prevalence of obesity. For instance, current world environment
indicates high cases of depression hence development of antidepressants. High consumption of
these drugs creates vista for high prevalence of obesity. Moreover, current economies experience
economic and financial crises leading to decreased purchasing power of consumers to help
maintaining health eating habits with respect to balanced diets (Wolin et al. 2009).
Economic and financial crises prevent governments of different nations to engage in awareness
of obesity amongst its citizens hence creating more risks. Increased technology within the current
world necessitated development and creation of different moving objectives such as automobiles,
which have led to increased laziness amongst the global population in respect to doing exercises
through walking. Today, individuals prefer using such automobiles to move from one place to
another however short the distance may be hence creating a society where physical activities are
a problem (Boehmer et al. 2007).

Public Policy
 
several policy measures have been put in place to control obesity and associated issues. Some of
the main policies include
 Development of policies that apply nutritional standards consistent with Dietary
Guidelines within different nations

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 Improving of availability of affordable healthier food and beverage choices within
various public places to enhance healthy dietary management practices
 Creating of more distributional channels for foodstuffs especially in underserved areas
 Provision of food incentives to retailers that sell food for their location in strategic places
and throughout an environment
 Improvement of mechanisms through which foodstuffs are made available (Rappange, et
al.2009).
Conclusion
Like many other health conditions, obesity is epidemic hence the need for proper and
effective management practices. Obesity results from many factors such as environmental,
illnesses, genetics, psychological, and drugs amongst others and not eating without exercises
alone. There is need for citizens across the global to take in this concept in order to practice
better management of the situations.

References

Boehmer, U., Bowen, D.J. & Bauer, G.R.( 2007). “Overweight and Obesity in Sexual-Minority
Women: Evidence From Population-Based Data”, American Journal of Public Health,
vol. 97, no. 6, pp. 1134-40.

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Himes, C.L. (2000) “Obesity, disease, and functional limitation in later life”, Demography, vol.
37, no. 1, pp. 73-82.
Monteverde, M., Noronha, K., Palloni, A. & Novak, B. (2010). “Obesity and Excess Mortality
among the Elderly in the United States and Mexico*”, Demography, vol. 47, no. 1, pp.
79-96.
Rappange, D.R., Brouwer, W.B.F., Hoogenveen, R.T. & Van Baal, P.,H.M. (2009) “Healthcare
Costs and Obesity Prevention”, PharmacoEconomics, vol. 27, no. 12, pp. 1031-1044.
Wolin, K.Y., Colangelo, L.A., Chiu, B.C.-. & Gapstur, S.M. (2009). “Obesity and Immigration
Among Latina Women”, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, vol. 11, no. 5, pp.
428-31.

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