Current Patterns of Ill Health in the UK

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In this assignment I am going to describe the current patterns of ill health and how they are monitored, I will also compare historical and current features of public health. Through the past century the health of the public has changed dramatically with such issues as polio, measles, rubella and other infectious diseases have almost been eradicated but now such issues are arising being; obesity, alcohol abuse, smoking, an aging demographical , mental health and dental issues.

All the issues that have been mentioned above have influence a rise in such conditions as coronary heart disease, diabetes type two and cancer. Compare to now and the early 19th and 20th century, a number of infectious diseases was the cause of death with not many individuals living past 50 due to that lack of health care, vaccinations and information that is available now, but in this modern era with many people living into their 90s and older people are still dying in their young years due to non-informed choices, the environment in which they live and their lifestyle.

An escalating problem in the 21st century is the rise of obesity which in turn leads to problems with the individual’s health. It is a worldwide problem with many people making the non-informed choice when it comes to healthy eating and exercise. According to the Department of health the cost to the NHS is estimated to be ? 5. 1 billion a year that is used to rectify and cure such problems that obesity has caused.

Obesity is when an individual is overweight and their weight is greater than what is considered healthy for a person’s height, gender and the individuals BMI (Body mass index), this is due to not balancing energy input to energy output, also not calorie counting the maximum calorie intake a day is 2000 for an average individual. Obesity can cause such non-communicable diseases as coronary heart disease, diabetes type two and preventable cancers. According to the WHO 2012 overweight and obesity are increasing dramatically in low and middle income countries and also in built-up areas.

Authorities locally, nationally and worldwide is constantly trying to provide us about making informed choices about such issues as walking instead of taking the bus/ stairs, switching unhealthy snacks for a piece of fruit or vegetables, also getting at least a hour of exercise everyday. According to the department of Health 2011, Obesity is a big factor that cause a lot of health problems and England has one of the highest rates of obesity on Europe with over 60% of adults overweight or obese.

Childhood obesity is increasing with a third of ten and 11 year olds overweight in England also. Obesity in childhood has risen greatly over the past two decades not only in the UK but also worldwide. According to the WHO 2012, childhood obesity is the most serious public health issue of today. Individuals quality of life is affected largely with continuous health problems that is all sourced to have come from been overweight, the WHO suggests that at least 2. 6 million people die each year as a result of being obese or obesity.

With some individuals that are severely obese unable to walk a long distance or have some issues about not leaving the house due to not been confident about their body leading them to eat more. According to the government they are considering bringing in a “fat tax” although this is already brought in, Denmark has taxed products with saturated fats like butter, in France they are planning to implement a tax on fizzy drinks, while Hungary has brought in a extra tax on “high-fat-sugar-salt” products and also Finland is considering placing a tax on sweets.

(The guardian, 2011) If the Government brought this tax in this would help reduce the rates of the soaring numbers of obese people and although the department of health has yet to say if they are taking any action to this, the government have launched a campaign “ Call to Action to obesity”, this is an campaign in which the government is trying to reduce the amount of people that are obese through working with clinical experts and charities to help fight the causes and consequences of been overweight, also the NHS workers, employers food industries, and the physical activity sector all to help fight the soaring rates of obesity by 2020.

Smoking is one of the unhealthiest addictions, that are one of the biggest killers and government across the world have been implementing such legislation as not allowing smoking in buildings or work areas, also through taxation, warnings on the packs of cigarettes and also providing support to people who wants to quit smoking. According to the WHO 2012 tobacco is a leading factor for premature mortality in Europe. Also the WHO suggests that smoking accounts 12-20 years of life lost and up to 21 % of deaths. It also shows that 24% of young people aged 15 years old smoke every week.

In England more than 80,000 premature deaths are caused by smoking (Department of health, 2012). Approximately 21% of adults smoke within England, this is over 8 million still smoke, almost two-thirds of current and ex-smokers say that they started smoking before 18 (Department of health, 2012). Also On the 6 April this year, all large shops in England will need to hide tobacco products from view in a drive to cut the number of smokers and protect young people, who are often the target of tobacco promotion. Sainsbury’s and many more companies have already been trialling hiding tobacco displays.

Other shops have just one month to find out if they are classified as a large shop, to plan how they are going to cover up their tobacco displays. The government and local authorities have launched quit kits to help people quitting and also opening help lines for support. Smokers are faced with many health problems with lung cancer and many other cancers been a big health risk due to what is in the cigarettes. Other health risks are coronary heart disease, heart attacks, stokes, respiratory problems such as chronic bronchitis, pneumonia and can worsen asthma.

Secondhand smoke comes from the tip of a lit cigarette and is the smoke that the smoker breathes out. People who breathe in secondhand smoke are at risk of the same health conditions as smokers, particularly lung cancer and heart disease. Their quality of life is affected with smokers more at risk of cancers and heart diseases, also they would be more prone to getting sick and also having to clear their throat in the morning due to been caught up. The third issue that I am going to discuss is not very open and not many people would like to discuss, mental health is a big issue that has to be addressed.

With one in four adults experiencing mental illness at some point in their lifetime and one in six experiencing symptoms at any one time. Mental health is the largest cause of disability in our society. They have been ? 22million to be inserted in to a pioneering programme to give children with mental health problems access to the best services in a wider range of places spent over the next three years to expand state-of-the-art psychological therapies and extend training for people working with youngsters outside of health settings, such as in schools or youth groups.

One in ten children aged 5-16 years has a clinically diagnosable mental health problem and, of adults with long-term mental health problems, half will have experienced their first symptoms before the age of 14. Self-harming and substance abuse are known to be much more common in children and young people with mental health disorders – with ten per cent of 15-16 year olds having self-harmed.

The facts and figures around Mental Health in the UK are alarming;

  • Almost 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain.
  • Also Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men.
  • About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time.
  • Depression affects 1 in 5 older people.
  • Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide as British women.
  • Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 populations.
  • Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder. (Mental health foundation, 2012).

The government has also injected 400 million to bring mental health up to the same treatment as patients would get if they were physically injured. This was in 2011 with many doctors just handing out tablets for such things as depression or eating disorders; this is helped by offering care services such as childline and other help lines.

All the above issues have affected the life expectancy with such issues as smoking nearly having life expectancy, although compared to the 19th and 20th Century peoples life expectancy was shockingly scary due to such infectious diseases as cholera, polio, diphtheria and other diseases along with poor housing, lack of nutrition, and no health care all affected life expectancy with a lower class individual living to her early twenties with a higher class women living to 45.

Although now with the advances in healthcare, housing and nutrition many people are still dying at a young age, this is due to cancers, coronary heart diseases and terminal illnesses. Today life expectancy is about, the environment you live in, lifestyle, gender, work, diet, poverty and poor housing. Throughout the years the life expectancy have rose although in some places throughout the UK it has not increased steadily with an estate in Glasgow with men living to 50. In 2008 an average males life expectancy reached 76. 4 years and a female’s life expectancy was 81. 3 years in northern Ireland. (Northern Ireland Executive, 2011).

All of the above has been a massive leap from the 19th and 20th century with over 30 years been added, this is due to the well structured health care, better housing and more information about nutrition. Even though many people may not have the standard of live which is expected to be normal, they may be living in poverty which would also affect live expectancy. Also we have seen that mothers and infants life expectancy have increased with more of than 99% for mothers and 90% for infants , compared to more than a half of infants dying in a 1000 births in the 19th and 20th Century.

The above issues such as alcohol, smoking, obesity, dental health, mental health, and an aging demographical have all influences such things as many health related problems and life expectancy. Within this assignment I have described the current patterns of ill health and how they are monitored and I have also compared historical and current features of public health.

Reference list

  • Campbell, Denis. (2011). Experts call for 10% ‘fat tax’ on soft drinks to prevent obesity. Available: http://www. guardian. co. uk/society/2011/dec/21/sugary-soft-drinks-obesity-tax? CMP=twt_gu. Last accessed 29th March 2012.
  • Department of Health. (2012). Healthy Lives, Healthy People; A call to action on obesity in England. Available: http://www. manchesterpublichealthdevelopment. org/mphds/download-files/pdf/chd/2011/DOH-Healthy%20Lives,%20Healthy%20People%20Report%202011. pdf. Last accessed 29th March 2012.
  • Department of Health. (2011). Department calls for action on obesity. Available: http://www. dh. gov. uk/health/2011/10/call-to-action/. Last accessed 29th March 2012.
  • Mental Health Foundation. (2012). mental health statistics. Available: http://www. mentalhealth. org. uk/help-information/mental-health-statistics/. Last accessed 29th March 2012.
  • Northern Ireland executive. (2011). Recent changes in Northern Ireland life expectancy. Available: http://www. northernireland. gov. uk/index/media-centre/news-departments/news-dhssps/news-dhssps-february-archive-2011/news-dhssps-24012011-recent-changes-in. htm. Last accessed 29th March 2012.
  • World Health Organisation. (2010). 10 facts on obesity. Available: http://www. who. int/features/factfiles/obesity/en/. Last accessed 29th March 2012.

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