“Health Issues Facing Australia’s Youth”
1. Describe the health issue
When people eat more calories than they burn off, their bodies store the extra calories as fat. When people keep up a pattern of eating more calories than they burn, more and more fat builds up in their bodies. Eventually, the body gets to a point where the amount of body fat can have a negative effect on a person's health. Doctors use the terms "overweight" or "obese" to describe when someone is at greatest risk of developing weight-related health problems.
2. Explain why it is an issue for youth.
It is now a big issue for youth to be overweight or even obese. In the last 30 years the prevalence of childhood obesity has more than doubled among children ages 2-5, it has tripled among youth ages 6-11, and has more than tripled among adolescents ages 12-19. The latest data suggest that being overweight and obese is having a greater effect on minorities.
3. Discuss relevant statistics in relation to the selected issue An estimated 1.5 million people under the age 18 are considered overweight or obese. This means about 20-25% of Australian children are overweight or obese. The proportion of overweight or obese children in Australian is increasing at an fast rate. Children are now getting less aerobic exercise. The amount of aerobic fitness is decreasing about 0.4% a year. 50% of obese adolescents continue to be obese as adults.
4. Explain how the issue can impact on the physical mental and social health of youth Physical: Obese people are less physically active because it's not only more difficult to move around, it's embarrassing to change in the change rooms. Many obese people don't feel comfortable in fitness classes because of their size and shape. This lack of physical activity can cause depression and anxiety. Mental: an obese teenager can feel sad or depressed as they are not happy with their appearance. They could be feeling lonely or sad, their self-esteem and confidence would be low as they could be being bullied for being obese or as a result of their body image. Social: being obese you may feel too ugly or fat and may not want to interact with a lot of people as you might feel uncomfortable. People may bully you causing you to not attend school or social activities. If you want to join sporting clubs you would get rejected as you are not fit enough to join.
5. Explain how the issue can impact on the physical, intellectual, emotional and social development of youth Physical: being obese and overweight gives you a higher chance of becoming obese adults, therefore putting you at risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular related diseases and the development of a healthy heart. Emotional: an obese teenager can start to feel sad due to feeling lonely and being socially discriminated. This can develop into depression or even self-harm. A youth developing depression can have this illness for a long term affecting their emotional development. Intellectual: due to being bullied or sad an obese youth may not want to attend school, this affects your intellectual development as they are missing out on important information learnt at school. Not attending school can affect your future and opportunity to finish school. Social: being obese as a youth you may miss out on social events such as formals or debutants due to feeling uncomfortable or social discrimination, these are known as rites of passage which are key events during youth. Not wanting to interact or socialize with other people can affect your communication skills.
6. Identify and explain determinants of health that may act as either risk/protective factors for the selected health issue Biological: Genetics may directly contribute to severe obesity in people with family histories of the problem. Genetic factors such as slow metabolisms may also make people more likely to be overweight. This is a risk factor as you are born with it and can’t change it. Behavioural: consuming more calories than needed for energy causes obesity, teenagers tend to do this as they are exposed to school canteens, fast foods and vending machines. This causes snacking and over eating causing obesity. This behaviour is a risk factor as you are choosing to do these things. Physical environment: a youth may be living in a home where the parents or cares may not care too much about their diet and consume foods that contribute to obesity such as takeout and high in fat foods. There may not be facilities to help guide the youth to lose weight and be an ideal weight such as local doctors or school nurses. This is a risk factor as you are exposed to foods that cause obesity and there aren’t facilities to help you with the condition. Social environment: a youth’s parents may not care too much about their child’s diet or eating habits, this causes them to eat when and whatever they feel like increasing obesity. As the youth is obese they are most likely not very physically active and more into slouching around watching TV or computer games. The media advertises a lot of fast food therefore encouraging youth to eat out at places such as MacDonald’s and kfc. This is a risk factor as the youths parents are not helping them with the condition as their diet is poor and the youth is exposed to sources from the media encouraging them to eat poorly.
7. Describe a government or non-government strategy (eg. action, policy or campaign) developed to try to prevent or reduce the harm associated with the health issue, include: Measure up
* The campaign started in 2006.
* The Measure Up campaign was part of the Australian Better Health Initiative a national program, supported by the Australian and state and territory governments. * The campaign primarily targets 25-50 year olds who have children, as parents’ behaviour is likely to have an impact on their children’s lifestyle behaviours. Parents also tend to be interested in their long-term health and want to see their children grow up. The secondary target audience is 45-60 year olds, as many people in this group are likely to either have been diagnosed with a chronic disease or are experiencing the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle. * to increase awareness of the link between chronic disease and lifestyle risk factors (poor nutrition, physical inactivity, unhealthy weight); to raise appreciation of why lifestyle change should be an urgent priority; to generate more positive attitudes towards achieving recommended changes in healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weight; and to generate confidence in achieving the desired changes and appreciation of the significant benefits of achieving these changes. * The main message is to measure up, measure your waist and see if you are at risk of these abnormalities, diseases and chronic illnesses. The message is delivered online through a website and ads on TV and online. * The website contains success story videos with real life people turning their life around and getting fitter, healthier and losing weight.
8. Describe a personal strategy a youth could put in place as a preventative measure against the health issue. Personal strategies include restricting yourself from eating poorly such as high in fat foods, take away and fast foods. Doing this could include planning your meals, keeping your self-occupied and refrain from fast food outlets. Being more active by not being lazy and exercising regularly so you can lose weight, to do this you can join the gym or do physical activities you enjoy doing such as swimming, walks and sports.