The last two years have shown us that public health is extremely difficult to control. Unexpected complications might catch off even the most well-trained doctors and nurses guard. The COVID-19 pandemic sprang out of nowhere and spread around the world despite the best efforts of scientists and doctors to contain it. But COVID-19 isn’t the only problem in the public health field.
Many other, more subtle problems also call for urgent resolution. Working in public health can allow you to take on these challenging problems and protect society’s most at-risk members. Diseases aren’t the only thing that can cause these problems; bad habits can be just as harmful.
Read on for additional information about some of the most pressing issues in public health. Here are some of the most common public health challenges that compromise families’ health.
Excessive consumption of alcohol is a leading cause of various diseases. In the United States of America, there has been a rise in Alcohol use disorder (AUD). Around 14.5 million Americans suffer from Alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Alcohol consumption puts people at risk of developing conditions like liver diseases, heart stroke, blood pressure, and digestive issues. It can also cause severe illnesses like mouth, liver, rectum, and throat cancer.
With issues like these becoming common every day, furthering education in public health is important for improving policies and advancing the discourse regarding these problems.
Nutrition is crucial when it comes to overall health. Communities that eat nutritionally rich diets have shown signs of a lack of digestion and mental health issues. Sadly, the American diet lacks proper nutrition and is rich in sugary, starchy, and oily foods. Moreover, it lacks fiber as the average American only consumes 15 grams of fiber while the recommended amount is 30grams of fiber a day.
In addition, Americans also consume fewer micronutrients, such as fruits and vegetables. Micronutrients are essential for tissue function, bone health, immune function, and energy production. Not eating a nutritionally dense diet will result in diseases like obesity, type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, tooth decay, and cancers.
Increased fast food and sugary consumption has increased these diseases and has put public health in difficulty.
The global spread of HIV/AIDS is a major public health threat that calls for immediate action from experts in the field. HIV/AIDS is hazardous not just because of the disease itself but also because of the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding it. Much misinformation is floating about, making it more difficult for people to take preventative measures. And many stigmas make it more difficult for people impacted to seek treatment.
With the appropriate approach to diet and medication, many people living with HIV/AIDS can lead a normal life. In addition, consistent care can effectively protect the immune system and reduce the disease to undetectable levels. To combat this public health issues, it is necessary to educate the public and eliminate the stigma associated with it. By doing so, people will be more likely to get treatment and discuss their condition openly, reducing the risk of spreading the disease to others.
Pollution is now a serious concern of public health professionals. Air pollution is one of the biggest health threats in America. Approximately 135 million Americans live in polluted air, severely threatening their health. The most significant cause of air pollution in America is industries and power plants burning fossil fuels. When fossil fuels burn, they release chemicals and air pollutants that are harmful to us. Moreover, the release of 67 million tons of air pollution further deteriorated air quality in 2021.
Besides that, mobile sources are a big reason for increased air pollution. For example, an increase in vehicles like cars and buses heavily pollutes the air by producing carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. As a result, air pollution causes our health to deteriorate and decline over time. Additionally, it causes lung cancer, ischemic heart disease, respiratory diseases, and stroke.
The smoking tobacco epidemic is one of the communities’ most significant challenges. Around 30.8 million people smoke cigarettes in the United States of America, and 480,000 Americans succumb to death due to tobacco smoking.
Moreover, tobacco is one of the leading causes of preventable diseases. It causes stroke, cardiovascular diseases, lung diseases, and oral health issues. Tobacco also causes various kinds of cancer, such as in the mouth, kidney, lung, stomach, bladder, pancreas, and esophagus.
The biggest drawback of smoking is that it does affect not only the smoker but also endangers the surroundings. For families, tobacco consumption is a massive threat. Studies suggest that children whose parents smoke are more likely to become smokers. Another research shows that twelve-year-old children were twice as likely to end up as smokers around the age of thirteen to Twenty-one. Hence, this makes children prone to health issues at an early age. Therefore, smoking is a severe public health concern for families.
Prescription Drug Misuse
More than 750,000 people have lost their lives due to drug overdoses since 1999, with opioid misuse being the primary cause. In 2018, opioids were implicated in the deaths of two-thirds of those who overdosed on drugs. As a result, the United States Department of Health and Human Services issued a public health emergency declaration and strategy to tackle the opioid crisis in 2017.
Tracking and monitoring sales of prescription drugs is a top priority for public health officials. Furthermore, there must be attempts to educate the public on the dangers of even occasional misuse and the fact that prescription medications can be just as dangerous as hard drugs.
Prescription drug and painkiller addiction is a serious problem, and many people struggle with it without understanding it until it is too late.
The topic of public health is tremendously broad, and many different problems require immediate attention. We may think of COVID-19 as the most important public health concern of our day, but there are actually several others that are more pressing. Improving public health requires a better understanding of the root causes of these problems and the populations most at risk of being affected.