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Health & Fitness

Four Public Health Crisis We’re Ignoring And How To Fix It

Public health is an essential part of a community’s health. The purpose is to prevent diseases in communities and aid in prolonging life. In addition, public health’s goal is to promote awareness of diseases and teach preventive methods to avoid them.

Furthermore, public health also manages natural disasters, epidemics, and pandemics. They provide research and education to communities so they can protect themselves and fight these phenomena. Moreover, public health mainly revolves around prevention and how to avoid getting sick in the first place. In addition, it focuses on teaching healthy lifestyle alterations so you and your community can be physically and mentally strong.

However, specific health crises are rising and becoming a challenge for public health. Yet, no matter how challenging public health crises are, there are plenty of ways to avoid becoming a victim of them. The following are the leading health crisis and how to fix them and emphasize the importance of public health.

Nutrition

The one thing you will always hear from a public health practitioner is that “nutrition is key.” Studies show countless evidence of how good nutrition maintains our overall health. Nutrition keeps people healthy, boosts their immune systems, and prevents various ailments. It significantly affects our mental health as well.

However, with the rise of fast food in American culture, our diets mainly consist of processed, starchy, and sugary foods. Hence, it is safe to say that poor nutrition is now a crisis in our country.

In America, 56% of children and 46% of adults eat a poor diet. Eating a poor diet is one of the leading causes of obesity. Around 36% of American adults suffer from obesity, and 300,000 people succumb to death from obesity. Moreover, it causes other severe diseases like type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and oral health problems. It also causes prostate, colorectal, and breast cancer.

Therefore, it is necessary to take a proper nutrient-rich diet. Your diet should consist of macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are the building blocks of digestive health and compromise protein, fat, and carbohydrates. At the same time, micronutrients improve our bodily functions. They consist of various minerals and vitamins that help fight diseases.

Moreover, a balanced diet with the right amount of macro and micronutrients is vital for health. Hence, eating a diet that is least processed and as organic as possible is ideal. A few changes that everyone should make to their diet are:

  • Cutting back on sugar (sodas, baked goods, chocolates, etc.)
  • Adding more greens (celery, kale, broccoli, etc.)
  • Add natural sugars like fruits (apples, pumpkin, strawberries, etc.)
  • Eat more whole grains (brown rice, pasta, oats, barley, etc.)
  • Cut down on red and processed meat (beef, salami, sausages, etc.)
  • Add dry fruits, seeds, and nuts (Almonds, figs, peanuts, chia seeds, etc.)

Physical activity

Our lives have become increasingly fast, busy, and technology prone. Due to this, the lack of physical activity in communities is rising. Communities are too busy with work or simply becoming lazy as technology has made life too convenient. 42% of Americans don’t work out because their schedule does not give them the time to.

However, that is not the only reason for physical inactivity. Other causes include environmental factors and financial issues. Environmental factors consist of the lack of public parks and gyms in neighborhoods. In addition, high-crime neighborhoods make daily mobility dangerous and challenging. At the same time, financial issues can make it hard to afford gyms.

A lack of physical activity can also lead to mental health issues. Exercise promotes the release of endorphin and serotonin, which improves overall mood. It also fights the feeling of isolation and anxiety. Furthermore, a lack of physical activity contributes to various conditions like heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Hence, to prevent these diseases, you must increase mobility. Walking for just fifteen minutes every day is ideal. Swimming, dancing, and playing sports are also great ways to get physical activity. Moreover, the government should install more fitness zones and gyms so all these facilities can be accessible to everyone.

Tobacco

Smoking over the years has become an enormous public health crisis. In the United States of America, 30.8 million adults smoke cigarettes. It contributes to 480,000 deaths every year. Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable diseases. Moreover, smoking causes various cancers such as:

  • Mouth
  • Throat
  • Lungs
  • Esophagus
  • Kidney
  • Rectum
  • Bladder
  • Liver
  • Stomach
  • Pancreases

Similarly, it causes other conditions like oral health issues, infections, heart diseases, stroke, and breathing issues. The biggest problem with smoking is that it doesn’t just affect the smoker but everyone in their surroundings. Thus, passive smoking causes 34,000 premature deaths. Furthermore, there are many ways to combat smoking, such as:

  • Increasing taxes and prices of tobacco.
  • Mass scale smoking awareness ads to discourage consumers from consuming it.
  • Schools to teach about the negative impacts of smoking.
  • Promoting more no-smoking areas in public to fight passive smoking.

HIV/AIDS

The HIV/AIDS pandemic started in 1981, and, to this day, it is a significant public health concern. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that causes a condition known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The virus targets and destroys T-cells causing your immune system to become weak. As a consequence, your body is not able to fight the slightest illness.

Moreover, 1.2 million Americans have HIV/AIDS. Additionally, 13,000 Americans die from aids every year. One of the main ways to spread the virus is through anal or vaginal intercourse with an infected partner. Anal intercourse is one of the easiest ways to transfer. In addition, using a used needle or sharing an infected razor will also spread HIV/AIDS.

Furthermore, infected pregnant women can transmit the virus to their babies. Infected women can also transfer it through breastfeeding. Lastly, HIV/AIDS also spreads through blood transfusion. Nonetheless, we can control and decrease the transmission of the virus by a few preventive measures such as:

  • Have safe intercourse (use a new condom every time you have intercourse)
  • Get yourself circumcised (many studies have shown fewer chances of getting the virus due to circumcision)
  • Only use sterilized needles (throw needles after use)
  • Do not share razors (sharing blades enables the virus to spread)

Conclusion

Public health is significant for communities. It spreads awareness and educates communities on how to make healthier choices. Unfortunately, however, public health crises are on the rise like they have never been before. More and more communities are succumbing to highly preventable diseases. Therefore, recognizing these problems, addressing them, and finding their solution is the only way out.

Public health crises like smoking, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and HIV/AIDS put communities on the wrong track. However, we can handle these crises through a joint community effort. Communities must now prioritize health more than they have ever before. The best way to maintain health is by eating a nutrient-rich diet, getting adequate sleep, exercising, and keeping yourself stress-free. In the end, a few habits will go a long way.

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