Public health enemies number one refers to the most common illness affecting the health sector today. Some of these diseases or public enemies include mental illness where it is estimated that one in five American adults suffer a diagnosable mental illness in any six-month period. Chlamydia is one of the common-sexually transmitted infection. If not treated it can lead to painful pelvic inflammatory diseases. In men, it can cause painful testicular infection and may reduce fertility. It is passed from one partner to another during sex.
In order to control it, one needs to be protected when having sex. The most dangerous type of public health enemy number that is going to be addressed in this paper is obesity. It is argued that obesity is the biggest cause of avoidable death in the United States (Rhoda, 2002). So instead of looking at all the public health enemies in New York, this paper looks at the obesity as a major threat in health sector. Other public enemies include smoking of cigarettes, war against drugs and terrorism among others.
The rapid increase and expansion of the nations waistline has pushed obesity to the top of dangerous diseases posing major health problems in America or United States. Honesty speaking obesity is a growing threat in the state and has now become a major burden on the US healthcare system (Marion and Michael, 2001). The biggest question that most people are asking is that why have researchers especially those related to the public health officers been of keen interest in the issue of obesity? This therefore means that obesity must be having some dangerous effects to the people affected.
Of late, the disease has been in the increase and has become a widespread epidemic in America. Even though the federal government and state programs are currently addressing the issue of obesity a lot of arguments have been put into place criticizing the efforts taken by them. Critics have agreed that the policy that exists currently is not aggressive and vibrant enough to control the increasing expansion of obesity in this country (Ali etal, 2001). The policy has been viewed to be soft in dealing with the problem therefore proactive and innovative policies need to be formed.
Most politicians have resolved to withdraw the whole control activities given to policy makers and they want new policy initiatives to effectively handle the issue. Some measures and steps have bee taken while other policies and strategies are underway to clear the dangerous disease called obesity. Effects of obesity in America Obesity is becoming and has become a major public concern in the United States. This follows the rate at which it is expanding and nature of the problem it causes to people. There is a fear that the entire US economy might be weakened just because of the increase in problems obesity gives.
Not only does it affect the general economy, various stakeholders or concerned bodies such as health care units and taxpayers are also affected seriously. The prevalence of obesity among US adults has increased dramatically in the recent years (Richard and Harold, 2001). Looking at the effects of obesity means looking at the sexes that are affected. Obesity has increased in both sexes, all states and across all age and race. People might think that those who have high income or those who have low income are the affected lot.
The problem has increased even in all socio-economic groups. Obesity mostly affects adults and particularly men. Among both men and women, the problem of overweight and obesity increases with advancing age-up to age sixty-eight. After age sixty-eight or nine the rate of obesity starts to decrease. Men are said to be more likely to be overweight as compared to women however women have been found to be more likely to be obese (Kathleen etal, 1998). Effects of obesity are also highly realized among the minor ethnic groups than the whites in United States.
Among the racial groups difference are also found where black and Mexican American women are more likely to become obese than their male counterparts. Obesity as a serious problem in America has caused serious illness and early death among people. It has not only affected the health of people but its effects have been realized in quality of life and economic status of the country. The economic impact of the obesity has resulted to heavy prices for direct and indirect costs related to the disease. The effect it has on health has drawn a serious national attention to its expansion.
Obesity in America kills almost three hundred thousand people every year. It is regarded as the second leading cause of preventable death in the United Stated. Most of the deaths have been experienced among children and adults from the minority ethnic groups. The disease is strongly associated with numerous chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high food choices or physiologic adaptations. Food insecurity or shortage among people in United States has been discovered as the major cause of obesity.
Most of healthcare institutions are now spending a lot of money to provide appropriate medication to patients. For example the increased high blood pressure among people have increased the number of those admitted with the disease. This has brought a lot of pressure on the health facilities in different hospitals. The cost of drugs involved in the treatment of the disease is very heavy. This is because obesity results into a number of problems or illness in the body. Controlling obesity therefore means dealing with a lot of problems other than one.
Among the diseases or problems obesity cause apart from high blood pressure include diabetes, coronary heart disease and high blood cholesterol levels or osteoarthritis (William, 1998). Increase in body weight however small the increase will lead to increased risk of death and illness. For example individuals who have gained eleven to eighteen pounds double their risk of developing type two diabetes. This shows that overweight is the biggest problem. Medicare systems in New York are currently undergoing a serious evolution in their system delivery of services to cater for the problems caused by obesity.
Dealing with numerous diseases caused by obesity requires a lot of money to be purchased drugs. Health facilities are also to be added like bedding capacity to cater for the increasing number of inpatients admitted. More doctors and nurses have also been added to put more force in preventing obesity in America. All these are just problems obesity causes to the healthcare or Medicare. The effects of obesity are not only experienced in the medical sector but the effects also affect the quality of life for individuals as a whole. When individuals are obese, their rate of mobility is seriously limited.
Obesity has also led to development of negative attitude towards those suffering from obesity. For example racial discrimination against those suffering from obesity has been experienced in workplaces. To make it worse the mostly affected race are those coming from the minority ethnic groups. Racial discrimination is a major issue that the government is currently dealing with. As a result of racial discrimination in places of work, many people have been rendered jobless and this therefore increases the rate of obesity. These people feel depressed and suffer from psychological torture.
This will lead to increase in the health and social costs (Sorensen, 2003). Another impact of obesity is seen in children. Recent studies indicate that eight percent to forty five percent of children with newly diagnosed diabetes have type two diabetes. Type two diabetes is mostly found among the young population especially prepubescent children (Jane and Allshouse, 2003). These children normally experience psychological overweight and health problems because of their overweight and body size. The most immediate result if overweight in children will be social discrimination.
When a person is discriminated socially his/her self-esteem will be lowered and the end result is depression. The obese children have also been found to grow to obese adults in future. Therefore we donot expect the problem to end immediately until they reach late sixty’s. This will then lead to a serious increase of care cost for these patients. For example in 2000 according to the surgeon General’s call to action, the total cost of obesity was estimated to about $117 billion whereby $61bilion was directed to direct costs such as physician visits, hospital and nursing home care. 65billion was attributed to indirect cost like loss of future earnings due to premature death.
This shows that spending on obesity in on the increase and the government and various funding agencies have shown some concern. The financial impact according to the government has been very high and there is a possibility that spending on obesity will still increase. The public sector nearly finances almost half of all medical spending related to overweight and obesity. Most of the medical spending goes to treatment of type two diabetes, hypertension, depression, cancer and arthritis.
Of all the diseases mentioned type two obesity has been found to be the most costly one. The impact of obesity is also seen in the general economy. Economy of a country is measured by indicators such Gross Domestic products and Gross National product. As stated earlier obesity is one of the leading diseases that require a lot of finances. Almost a half of the US health expenditure is taken to treatment of related illness brought by obesity. The government is spending a lot on obesity without any income in return. It is therefore like a country, which is paying debts or importing goods without exporting.
The continuous increase in government funding in obesity has lowered the economy of America. Obesity is associated with almost thirty six percent increase in inpatient and outpatient costs and a 77 percent increase in medication costs over those incurred by people within a normal weight range. This extraordinary spending on obesity is seen a major threat to the economy of US. Just like for example thirty three billion dollars are spend every year by Americans on weight loss products and services, such as low calories foods and artificially sweetened products like diet sodas (William, 1998).
A part from having adverse effects on the economy and Medicare, obesity is a serious threat to population growth and taxpayers. Obesity in America is associated with early deaths of thousands of people. The increasing number of deaths as a result of obesity in United States has led to decrease in the general population. It is said that approximately three hundred thousand lives are lost each year because of obesity (Kathleen etal, 1998). Majority of these people are either of school going age or energetic who are to work. The decrease in the number is the young energetic people shows that labor force is also reduced.
Racial discrimination faced by the minority ethnic groups in the United States has led to the decrease in the population of those employed. Most of the obese are minority ethnic group who normally face social and racial discrimination in place of work. They are rendered jobless thus their chainless of survival is very minimal. This leaves the white to dominate most of the jobs done while minority ethnic groups continue to remain jobless. Poor living standards among these groups have led to high chances and occurrences in the number of deaths in America (Marx and Wooley, 1998).
More people are dying leading to a serious decrease in population. The increase in government spending on controlling obesity implies that more funds should be allocated. The major source of a country’s income is got through paying taxes. The federal government in United States has increased the amount of tax to be paid by the public. The value of goods is also high to compensate for the amount of money that is located for obesity. The government has also levied a lot of tax on imported goods. This means that obesity is a burden to tax payers.
People most be treated and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that more funds are allocated. Possible solutions of obesity Costs related to obesity are very heavy both for individuals struggling with the condition and the government that has to provide support to control the rising obesity rate in the population. Generally obesity is a complicated and complex problem that cannot be solved using a single solution. It therefore means that a variety of measures have to be employed to ensure that the problem is fixed.
This has forced both the government and policy makers to do a lot of research to ensure that effective measures are found to address the problem. Possible solutions of addressing obesity can be divided into five categories: Educating the public through information dissemination, improving access to good or healthy foods, improving access to physical activities, forth one is doing research on the metabolic and pharmacological dynamics of weight control and lastly providing behavioral and medical interventions for individuals. Information and Education.
Information and Education should be provided to individuals persuading them to change their attitudes and behaviors on nutrition and physical activity (National Association of State Boards of Education, 2000). This is done by the government as a measure of controlling obesity. Up to date many American have not realized that their body weight is a serious health concern. Through public awareness information such as taking healthy foods and doing physical exercises will lead to decrease in obesity. Education can be done by carrying public campaigns, using media and holding forums with the public.
During education members of the public should be informed about the dangers or problems obesity causes. Guidelines on good nutrition, change of attitudes and need for physical activities should also be provided during Education (Marion and Michael, 2001). Taskforce on community preventive services, which is a body comprised of scientific experts should be used and is supposed to be in the fore front to work with the community. The group is very much useful in carrying out effective campaigns, conducting behavior change programs and providing social support networks to encourage physical activity.
Education is therefore very important to the public when it comes to changing their altitudes and behaviors. This has been considered as a good way of preventing obesity. Access to Healthy foods. Healthy food that include balanced diet has been found to control obesity. The government should therefore come up with examination programs on food and nutrition to ensure that citizens make healthy food choices. Policy makers should also pay keen attention to the food choices available through the various food assistance programs.
The various or types of food that can effectively control obesity include fruits and vegetables. The diet therefore should include more fruits and vegetables. The diet should also contain little fat content to reduce overweight in individuals. Breast-feeding is also another way of controlling obesity. Mothers or women are encouraged to breastfeed their infants up to age three to four years. Children having obesity are characterized by lack of proper breasting during infancy stage. Food programs such as National school Breast fast and lunch programs should be established particularly at very low cost to children.
Poor nutrition is one of the challenges that is faced when controlling obesity among children. Other food programs include the food Stamp program, which provides or allow low-income households to obtain a more nutritious diet through coupons or electronic benefit transfer and which participants can use like cash at most grocery stores. The summer food service program should also be strengthened as they provide nutritious meals to low income children when school is not in session. This will ensure continuous flow or supply of food among the children.
Children and adults care food programs should also be encouraged to provide federal foods for meals and snacks licensed public and not profit child care centers, family and group child care homes for pre-school children and adult day care center serving chronically impaired adults or people over age 60. There is also women, infant and children (WIC) program that has also been created to provide nutritious food, nutrition education and access to health care to low income pregnant women, new mothers, and infants and children who are both living below 185 percent of the federal poverty line and at nutrition risk (Sorensen, 1998).
The child nutrition act should also be strengthened to provide debates on having the need to provide school nutrition program to children in schools. All these programs will ensure that the vulnerable children suffering form obesity are properly feed. Healthy food particularly fruits and vegetables are very effective in controlling obesity. Most of the programs are targeting women and children because they are the most affected lot because of low income and discrimination these people face, the program will be useful in assisting them with food supply in order to solve the problem of food insecurity or shortage.
The federal government and policy makers should ensure that all these programs are strengthen and implement if at all obesity is to be wiped out of America. Access to physical –Activity Facilities Physical activity and good diet intake are important in controlling obesity and weight loss. People therefore should engage in regular physical activities including children to reduce weight loss. Regular physical activities among adults also reduces the risk of coronary heart disease which is the nations leading cause of death. Physical activities also decrease the risk of colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure among individuals.
Children are also encouraged to practice in activities such as riding, cross country as this will greatly lead to loss of weight (Marx and Wooley,1998). The tast force on community preventive services has been doing a recommendable job by creating and improving access to places for physical activity and formation of transportation facilities. Physical activity will be useful because it has been found out that more than a third of the young participate in physical activity. This should be regularly practiced to encourage health benefits.
The federal government should also come up with educational policies strengthening physical education (PE) in public schools. Policies should also be strengthened and firms by the government to encourage physical education parks and recreational areas. This can be done by constructing swimming pools in recreational areas. Among the polices include Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century authorizes federal surface transportation programs for high ways, highways safety, and transit. The act also encourages physical activity friendly transportation investment by providing funding for the developemtn of recreational trawls.
Grants should also be provided to local educational agencies and community based organization to support physical education programs for students in kindergarten through grade 12. This has been best shown in the efforts made by the Carol, M. within the department of education. Research Through research effective measure of controlling obesity can be obtained. It is through research that we have gotten the knowledge about obesity and as chronic disease with a variety of complex interactions of genetic, metabolic, behavioral, psychological and environmental factors.
Research programs therefore should be enhanced to increase our understanding on obesity. The scientific research will help individuals with information about complications that obesity creates to the body. All these will create awareness on how to be carefully about obesity. Federal agencies should therefore be encouraged to conduct research on the obesity related issues. These organizations or bodies include national institution of health (NIF) that carry research on health related disease caused by obesity such as diabetes, kidney diseases, heart diseases and lung diseases.
Clinical Treatment Clinical treatment has been formed to be one best of ways of preventing obesity. The federal government therefore needs to provide support in provision of health care treatment. The state child health insurance programms (SCHIP) should be encouraged to provide clinical weight management services available to the American public. Hospitals should also provide routine or regular screening for obesity and intensive behavioral dietary counseling for obese individuals and other people with cardiovascular and diet – related chronic disease risks.
It has been found out that patients who are advised to lose weight by their physicians are more likely to attempt weight loss as compared to those who are not counseled to lose weight. Most hospitals and Medicare units do not recognize obesity as a threat in the state. It is how high time for them to realize that obesity is a very big burden to the whole economy. Courage treatment for obesity is very low and completely absent inmost private health centers. The various health care units should corporate obesity treatment plans to ensure there is a joint effort made to eliminate the problem.
States should apply for a waiver to ensure effective courage for weight loss drugs for the affected individuals. The congress should also design and come up with preventive services to help those suffering form obesity. Up to the moment preventive services are not covered under Medicare because the congress has not enacted a low on it. The section 1862 of the social security Act states that services will not be covered it they “are not reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury or to improve the functioning of a malformed body members”.
This is why hospital and physician services for weight loss are not covered. The low or act should be amended or removed away to allow physicians and hospitals to cover the preventive services of obesity. This will reduce the increasing rate of obesity among the individuals because most of the drugs will be provided. The government (federal) should also provide Counselling services and pharmaceutical weights loss aids for those having obesity. Hospitals should also provide obesity drugs at affordable cost to ensure that most of the people get access to the drugs. This is because most of those suffering form obesity are low income earners.
Conclusion In order to ensure proper interventions measures are put into place to eliminate the dangerous problems causes by obesity policy makers have to work hard. A number of strategies should be put into place to ensure the fight against obesity is straightened. Among the policies and strategies include: increase in federal support for educational programms, mass media campaigns and research effects. This includes increase in funding to support activities such as training of health professionals and mass media campaigns. Incentives should also be provided to individual’s states and private sector to pursue innovative solutions.
Modifications on the quality of food should also be made and programs that ensure healthy and nutritious food are taken. Farmers are therefore encouraged to perform fruits and vegetable growing to ensue continuous food supply is achieved. Hastily policies should also focus on expansion of weight management services through financed insurance mechanisms to combat the dangerous diseases. Otherwise if all these measures are practiced then the government will be better placed as for as obesity is concerned. Quality of life will also improve as most the individuals will be aware of the problems of obesity.