Epidemiology: Psychiatry and Mental Health Professionals

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Epidemiology Paper
Raquel Solorzano
NSG/450
December 13, 2012
Penny Horper

Mental Health and Obesity
According to "World Health Organization" (2012), " Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events (including disease), and the application of this study to the control of diseases and other health problems.” (para.1). There are many approaches for collecting this beneficial data, and there are three basic standard methods. These three methods include routinely collected data, data collected for other purposes, and epidemiologic data (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2012). Routinely collected data is secondary data that is collected routinely from the general population, which may include births, deaths, fertility or infectious disease notifications (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2012). The quality of this data may vary depending on time and region (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2012). Data collected for other purposes are also secondary data, collected within a region or area of interest, and may be used for research and investigative purposes (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2012). Epidemiologic data is primary data that uses sample populations to answer specific questions of interest or concern, surveys and new cutting edge GIS technology are often used (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2012). Epidemiology uses these methods of data to study health related states and events. There are three factors that must be present in order to create or maintain these health related events. These three factors include an agent to carry and disperse the disease, a host to carry and maintain the disease, and the environment that facilitates the interactions between the host and the agent (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2012). Together these three factors are called the epidemiological triangle, and without these three factors there is no health related state or event to study. When all three of these factors are present, data can then be collected, and an investigation of this data may take place. The two basic types of methods for these investigations are descriptive epidemiology and analytical epidemiology. These two methods rely on each other. As descriptive epidemiology focuses on the concrete, such as who is affected, where they are affected, and when they are affected; analytical epidemiology focuses on how and why the population is affected. The purpose of this paper is to provide both analytical and descriptive views on the prevalence of obesity in people who suffer from mental health disabilities. Obesity is widely referred to as an epidemic not only in the United States but in other countries as well. As the study of mental health disabilities and its treatments continues to evolve and progress, research shows a significant link between mental health and obesity. According to Gasper and Tsai (2006) “Weight gain is a prominent side effect of atypical antipsychotics” (p. 9). When medications used to treat mental illness are combined with lifestyle factors and a low-income, it can be very difficult for people with mental illnesses to overcome the battle to maintain optimal physical health, as well as mental health. Although this link has surfaced and brought light to an important issue, there is still very much progress needed to attack this problem and provide a better quality of life for people with mental health disabilities around the world. In 2012 a research article published by The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, pointed out that in 2007 funding for a mental health commission was launched in Canada, while an epidemic of obesity, affecting one in four adult Canadians failed to receive similar consideration (Sharma, 2012). This statistic was used in this article to illustrate how the two disorders are actually co-epidemics. A worldwide study published by the International Journal of Obesity further illustrates this correlation by clearly finding a stronger relationship between...
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