Social Determinants of Health

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Numerous factors influence the health of an individual, including education, housing, access to healthy foods, and employment. Such factors are also known as social determinants of health, and their definition is by the environment and conditions in which a person is born, brought up, live, and work. The purpose of the paper is to analyze a photo to outline how it illustrates a social determinant of health and the determinant would influence health, approaches to improve health, and equity in regards to the determinant. 

Illustration of a social determinant of health and its effect on health status

            The photograph shows billboards of different fast food restaurants including KFC, McDonald’s, and McCafe. The picture illustrates a social determinant to health since the advertisements are used to advertise the fast food companies, thus improving the accessibility of fast foods. The billboards also create an environment entices people to crave for fast foods. Easy access to fast foods promotes an unhealthy lifestyle. In a study conducted by Majabadi et al. (2016), in their study found that factors that encourage fast food consumption appear stronger compared to the inhibitors of fast food consumption. Similarly, Majabadi et al. (2016) point out that characteristics like genetic profile, gender, and age, as well as the interactions with the cultural, environmental, and social contexts can individual behavior and hence dietary habits. Consequently, people in the environment characterized by numerous fast food restaurants adverts are likely to engage in the consumption of fast foods.

            Accessibility, affordability, and consumption of fast foods are likely to cause chronic conditions associated with poor feeding habits like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Fast food consumption has been associated with weight gain, poor diet, and caloric consumption. From 1994 to 2006, consumption of calories from fast foods grew from about 10% to 12% in children between the ages of 2-18 years (Vikraman et al., 2015). Fast food advertising, which targets the youth and children, has been associated with an increase in childhood obesity (Zimmerman & Shimoga, 2014). The more children and youths see the adverts the more they consume fast foods and the higher the rates of obesity. Exposure to fast food advertisements promoting unhealthy foods rich in calories and with low-nutrients is a significant risk factor for obesity.

            Most fast food including beverages are filled with starches with low amounts of fiber. At place when the stomach related framework separates the foods, the carbohydrates are cleared as glucose into the circulatory system, increasing the levels of glucose (Belon et al. 2016). The pancreas reacts to the increase in glucose by producing insulin. Insulin transports sugar throughout the body to cells that require it for vitality. As the body stores or utilizes the sugar, the level of glucose goes back to normal. The body intensely manages the glucose procedure, and insofar as one is healthy, the body organs can rightfully deal with the sugar spikes (Urban et al., 2014). However, intake of high amounts of carbohydrates every one and then can prompt rehashed spikes in one’s glucose. Other times, the insulin spikes may lead to wallowing of body’s normal insulin reaction (Urban et al., 2014). That expands the hazard of increase in weight and type 2 diabetes.

            Eating food containing trans-fat may upsurge the bad cholesterol, lower the useful cholesterol and increase susceptibility to cardiac disease and type 2 diabetes (Urban et al., 2014). A mixture of sugar, fat and lot of sodium makes fast food more delicious to a few people. However, a lot of calories high in sodium can cause water maintenance, which may make one feel swollen, enlarged, or puffy after consuming fast food (Urban et al., 2014).  A habit of taking high amounts of sodium is also risky for people with circulatory problems. Sodium can elevate pulse and add weight on the heart and the cardiovascular system.

Approaches that could be used to improve health status

The food environment waits silently in the background, but it has a significant role in the food choices that people make. Be it small wins at a local level or major shifts on the national level, any constructive transformation on the food environment can start to make changes (Belon et al. 2016). People would shift away from a world that encourages unhealthy eating, towards a world where healthy diet is an unavoidable choice. One of the ways of attaining a healthy foods environment is by making healthy foods and beverages more affordable and convenient (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). More important, it can also be achieved by limiting access to unhealthy foods and sugary drinks.  Since public facilities and buildings serve people of all backgrounds and ages, setting nutrition standards for the food offered can have a great impact.

            Health status can be improved via watchful dieting and activeness that increase awareness, behavior change, and motivation skills without altering the environment where they are unlikely to be effective (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion., 2017). For example, they may choose to keep off or limit the number of visits. Eating at a fast food restaurant ought to be a treat. When thought in that manner, the choices made do not matter quite much. In the same way, a simple environmental transformation for greater physical involvement may not be enough for important behavioral adjustment. According to ecological models, expectations are that the most effective intervention approach to work on multiple levels to build an environment that facilitates healthy choices.

            Health policies are a practical approach to ensure that restaurant food is always safe based on the nutritional value and health. As the most deterring instrument for policy existing, government orders tend to be successful at transforming both individual and industry conduct (Gorski & Roberto, 2015). Nevertheless, they can be challenging to pass compared to the less deterring rules since they restrict people. For example, the 2006 ordinance of New York City Board of Health forbids eateries from using trans-fats. Restaurants changed from using trans-fats to other cooking fats. According to Gorski and Roberto (2015), the NYC board of health could have applied other measures instead, to realize behavior modification like inspiring restaurants to voluntarily cease using such fats or demand they appropriately label products where they are used. Nonetheless, such policies would not have eliminated entirely the practice of using trans-fats successfully as the statutory mandate used.

Conclusion

            Exposure to fast food advertisement creates an environment that influences people to go for them. That affects people’s health, especially for the children and youths. Fast foods are rich in fats; contain high calories, high sodium levels, and sugars that adversely affect human health. Fast foods may cause obesity, hypertension and even diabetes. Consequently, it is vital that the impact caused by such adverts be countered by building an environment that encourages healthy foods. Government policies and the promotion of physical exercises could also help in countering the issue of poor feeding habits.

References

Belon, A. P., Nieuwendyk, L. M., Vallianatos, H., & Nykiforuk, C. I. (2016). Perceived community environmental influences on eating behaviors: A Photovoice analysis. Social Science and Medicine, 171, 18-29.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018). State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/downloads/fruits-vegetables/2018/2018-fruit-vegetable-report-508.pdf

Gorski MT, & Roberto CA. (2015). Public health policies to encourage healthy eating habits: recent perspectives. Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 2015, 81-90.

Majabadi, H. A., Majabadi, H. A., Solhi, M., Montazeri, A., Shojaeizadeh, D., Nejat, S., Farahani, F. K., ... Djazayeri, A. (2016). Factors influencing fast-food consumption among adolescents in Tehran: A qualitative study. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 18, (3)

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2017). Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/leading-health-indicators/2020-lhi-topics/Nutrition-Physical-Activity-and-Obesity

Urban, L. E., Roberts, S. B., Fierstein, J. L., Gary, C. E., & Lichtenstein, A. H. (2014). Temporal trends in fast-food restaurant energy, sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat content, United States, 1996-2013. Preventing Chronic Disease, 11. DOI: 10.5888/pcd11.140202

Vikraman, S., Fryar, C. D., & Ogden, C. L. (2015). Caloric Intake From Fast Food Among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 2011-2012. Nchs Data Brief, 213, 1-8.

Zimmerman, F. J., & Shimoga, S. V. (2014). The effects of food advertising and cognitive load on food choices. Bmc Public Health, 14, (1)

October 13, 2023
Category:

Health

Subcategory:

Illness

Number of pages

5

Number of words

1337

Downloads:

41

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