Scientific and Mathematical Perspectives of Inquiry Paper
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 21, 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.
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).
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). 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).
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). 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). 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).
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).
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). Overall, the consequences of overnutrition may be affected directly and indirectly. Direct ways may be medication costs, hospital costs, and medical examinations. 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. 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.
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
Kernan, W., Walter N. Kernan From the Department of Internal Medicine, Inzucchi, S., Silvio E. Inzucchi From the Department of Internal Medicine, Sawan, C., Carla Sawan From the Department of Internal Medicine, . . . Al., E. (2012, October 30). Obesity. Retrieved April 22, 2021, from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.639922
HSPH, N. (2016, April 08). Economic costs. Retrieved April 22, 2021, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-consequences/economic/
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/
Mayoclinic, N. (2021, January 20). Type 2 diabetes. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20351193
American Stroke Association, N. (2021, January). About stroke. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke
Dhurandhar, E. (2016, August 1). The food-insecurity obesity paradox: A resource scarcity hypothesis. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5394740/#:~:text=This%20%E2%80%9CResource%20Scarcity%20Hypothesis%E2%80%9D%20suggests,in%20high%20social%20status%20individuals.
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