Evaluating Public Health Issues

Evaluating Public Health Issues using an Evidence-Based Approach”

Identify a public health issue at the local, national, or international level. Write a 4-5 page APA style paper in which you argue the importance of this public health issue by using at least 5 peer-reviewed journal articles (published within the last 5 years) to support your claim. Use an evidence-based approach by procuring data from authoritative sources.

Evaluating Public Health Issues Using an Evidence-Based Approach

Physical Inactivity: An International Public Health Challenge

            Based on the global statistics in 20, 31% of the people aged fifteen years and above were inadequately active (34% women and 28% men). Around 3.2 million annual deaths are as a result of inadequate physical activity. Inadequate physical activity refers to not more than thirty minutes engagement in moderate activity 5 times in a week or not more than twenty minutes engagement in vigorous activity 3 times per week. High-income countries have more than twice the prevalence in comparison to low-income nations for both women and men. 48% of women and 41% of men are inadequately physically active in the high-income nations compared to 21% of women and 18% of men in the low-income nations. Basically, the present lifestyle can be attributed to the insufficient physical activity. People are no longer engaged in transport- and occupation-related physical activity, and the escalated automation of work as well as other life aspects can explain the high insufficient physical activity levels in developed countries. Increased urbanization is associated with a number of environmental factors that discourage physical activity participation including high-density traffic, violence, air pollution, and lack of sidewalks, parks, and recreation facilities.

            There exists convincing evidence that physical activity guards against colon cancer as well as being obese or overweight. It also protects against post menopausal breast and endometrium cancers. Overweight and obesity are related to cancers of the breast (post menopause), endometrium, kidney, pancreas, esophagus, and bowel. Multi-sectoral, population-based, as well as culturally relevant policies should be implemented so as to promote increased physical activity levels internationally. This paper aims at exploring the issue of global physical inactivity using evidence-based approaches. Peer-reviewed articles will be used.

            The discussion of Haggis et al. (2013) was based on the acknowledged significance of physical activity and the difficulty of implementing the models of physical activity across and within communities. Incontrovertible and compelling evidence supports the potential impact and cost effectiveness of physical activity as far as the prevention of chronic diseases and health promotion are concerned. Haggis et al. (2013) notes that alarmingly, physical inactivity is presently the 4th leading death cause globally. In addressing the pandemic, the Global Advocacy for Physical Activity group came up with ‘7 best investments’ that were well-supported by evidence and aimed at assisting populations to attain the guideline physical activity levels. Two of these investments are neighborhood built environments that are conducive for physical activity and promoting physical activities in the school environments.

            Haggis et al. (2013) document that societal challenges such as physical inactivity need detailed multi-factorial solutions. Social ecological models are very effective in addressing the interdependency and interaction between multiple, individuals settings such as school and home and levels (family and local government) that have an impact on behavior. Interventions which adopt the social ecological framework determine many or one target for change by utilizing networking relationships as well as relying on partnerships across disciplines and sectors. WHO also recommends the social ecological approach in combating physical inactivity in relation to the universal burden of disability, death, and diseases. According to the WHO, it is important to engage various levels of stakeholders, which is extremely essential in ensuring that evidence-based, context-specific findings are integrated into institutions. This influences their uptake into the broader population. In a nut shell, social ecological approaches escalate public health research impact and potential sustainability.

            Der Ananian and Ainsworth (2013) also acknowledge that the substantial physical activity health benefits are well established. Among them is the reduction in the chances of developing a number of non-communicable diseases, potentially delaying disability onset, improving physical function, reduced mortality risk, and improved mental health. Regardless of the acknowledgment of these benefits, the rates of regular engagement in physical activity are particularly low. Point-of-decision prompts and community-wide campaigns are recommended for influencing cognitions regarding physical activity. Der Ananian and Ainsworth (2013) note that social and behavioral approaches that include personally- adapted health behavior programs, social support-based approaches in the community settings, and schools’ physical education programs are warranted. The two authors also note that policy-based and environmental approaches are essential in increasing the physical activity participation levels among populations. Some of the suggested interventions are addressing community design, increasing the access to places where people can engage in physical activity, urban and street design, as well as influencing transport policies. Der Ananian and Ainsworth (2013) conclude by saying that improving physical activity levels needs a multi-sectorial approach which addresses strategies across different levels while emphasizing on policy and environmental approaches.

            Heath et al. (2012) recommend that participatory action research and interdisciplinary teams are essential in guiding the sustained effect of public health interventions that are community-based. The increasing trend towards the interdisciplinary team approach addresses complicated societal and scientific challenges that would be difficult within the singular disciplinary setting. There is a need for innovative strategies aimed at promoting healthy behaviors among populations.

            Kohl et al. (2012) note that although evidence regarding physical activity health benefits could be accessed since the 1950s, there has been no major efforts for improving populations’ health in regard to available evidence. Only an identifiable infrastructure was developed recently including efforts in leadership and advocacy, policy, planning, workforce development and training, and surveillance and monitoring. Kohl et al. (2012) argues that the reasons for late start are complex, multifactorial, and myriad. It is very important for the infrastructure to continue being informed, intersectoral approaches are vital for advancing, and advocacy should remain the cardinal pillar. More importantly, Kohl et al. (2012) assert that regardless of the fact that it is important to build universal capacity founded on current foundations, there is a need for a systems approach focusing on the physical inactivity correlates’ complex interactions and populations, as opposed to solely on the behavioral science approach that is keen on individuals. This is the only rational and strategic move towards increased physical activity globally.

            Globally, there is a recommendation of informational approaches of mass media and community-wide campaigns, in addition to short physical activity messages that target principal community sites. Social and behavioral approaches are effective, introducing physical activity social support within worksites and communities, and school-based strategies should encompass of classroom activities, physical education, active transport, and after-school sports.

            From the foregoing discussion, it has been established that physical inactivity is a global public health concern. The current lifestyles do not promote occupation- and transport- related physical activity and this has resulted to many kinds of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, overweight, and obesity (Community Interventions for Health, 2014). Comprehending the proven strategies that can be used to increased physical activity is essential in improving the physical activity levels among populations.

References

Community Interventions for Health. (2014). Physical Activity Interventions.

Der Ananian, C., & Ainsworth, B. (2013). Population Based approaches for health promotion.

Haggis, C., Sims-Gould, J., Winters, M., Gutteridge, K., & McKay, H. (2013). Sustained impact of community-based physical activity interventions: key elements for success. BMC Public Health, 13: 892. 

Heath, G. W., Parra, D. C., Sarmiento, O. L., Andersen, L. B., Owen, N., Goenka, S., Montes, F., & Brownson, R. C. (2012). Physical Activity 3: Evidence-based intervention in physical activity: lessons from around the world. Lancet, 380, 271- 281.

Kohl H. W., Craig, C. L., Lambert, E. V., Inoue, S., Alkandari, J. R., Leetongin, G., & Klmeier, S. (2012). Physical Activity 5; The pandemic of physical inactivity: global action for public health. Lancet, 380, 294–305.

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