The terms “morbidity” and “mortality” are used to analyze the impacts and severity of a given health condition or disease. The leading health indicator (LHI) selected for this week’s Public Health Program Planning is nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. Healthy People 2020 LHI has been used by different agencies to implement evidence-based initiatives to improve the health outcomes of every American citizen.
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The major indicators of mortality and morbidity for this LHI include:
- Obesity among adults.
- Daily intake of vegetables.
- Childhood obesity.
- Adults’ engagement in physical activities.
- Inappropriate weight gain in youths and adults.
Morbidity is widely used to study the incidence of a given disease or condition in a specific population. Mortality is the number of deaths in a particular population. With this knowledge, it is agreeable that the above key indicators of morbidity and mortality can be used to analyze the problem of obesity. To begin with, obesity in adults is a powerful attribute that can be used to monitor the number of people affected by the condition. This indicator can reveal the number of adults who are yet to appreciate the benefits of physical exercises and balanced diets (“Nutrition, physical activity, and obesity,” n. d.). The indicator also reveals the number of persons at risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
The second indicator focuses on the number of vegetables consumed daily. This aspect can determine the number of citizens in a given population who want to achieve this Healthy People 2020 goal. Individuals who consume vegetables and fruits will record positive health outcomes. Just like adulthood obesity, childhood obesity is a crucial indicator of the prevalence and incidence of LHI (McCoy et al., 2017). The indicator can be used to reveal the number of children at risk of developing obesity as adults. It is also an indicator of children who are at risk of developing various health problems.
Exercises and physical activities can also be used to monitor the morbidity and mortality of the outlined LHI. For instance, people who do not exercise have increased chances of becoming obese. They also expose themselves to serious conditions such as cancer and hypertension. The number of deaths recorded among members of this group will increase significantly. The last indicator is the issue of weight gain in youths and adults (“Nutrition, physical activity, and obesity,” n. d.). When more people gain weight frequently, it means that they are not embracing healthy practices and behaviors. The number of affected youths and adults (morbidity) can guide policymakers and departments to implement adequate programs to achieve this LHI.
Gaps in Programs
It is agreeable that the state of Florida has been keen to implement evidence-based programs to support nutrition, physical activity, and obesity LHI. Some of these initiatives have focused on issues such as nutritional education, balanced diets, and weight management (McCoy et al., 2017). Unfortunately, this state does not have adequate policies or programs to address each of these indicators independently (see Figure 1). For example, standardized weight management programs have mainly focused on adults’ needs. This means that youths and adolescents who might not be involved in various exercises are not supported.
Educational campaigns aimed at sensitizing people about dietary consumption have delivered meaningful results in the state. However, such initiatives have failed to encourage more individuals to buy and consume vegetables and fruits. The focus on breastfeeding programs has created serious gaps in the state since these indicators have not been supported (“Resources,” n. d.). Although several schools have been the target of various campaigns and programs aimed at tackling the problem of obesity, very little is done to support learners with special needs.
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Due to the existence and nature of these gaps, the number of persons affected by the obesity epidemic has been increasing steadily (“The state of obesity in Florida,” n. d.). This means that each of these leading indicators should be mitigated independently using appropriate models and programs. Issues such as funding and stakeholder participation will eventually deliver meaningful results and support the Healthy People 2020 LHI.
The above concept map has shown how nutrition, physical activity, and obesity is a critical LHI linked to different critical indicators. The map reveals that different aspects can be analyzed together whenever focusing on the morbidity and mortality of the LHI. The collected information or insights can, therefore, be used to make informed decisions and improve the effectiveness of every existing program.
McCoy, P., Leggett, S., Bhuiyan, A., Brown, D., Frye, P., & Williams, B. (2017). Text messaging: An intervention to increase physical activity among African American participants in a faith-based, competitive weight loss program. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(4), 326-334. Web.
Nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. (n. d.). Web.
Resources. (n. d.). Web.
The state of obesity in Florida. (n. d.). Web.