Primary Health Concerns of the Vulnerable Population
Obesity and overweight problems pose a major risk for the community in Manhattan. It reduces productivity rate in the population and individuals are at high risk of acquiring lifestyle diseases such as type II diabetes, Obesity-Related Cancer, Hypertension, gallstones, high level of cholesterol and triglycerides, stroke, HBP, Arthritis, coronary artery diseases and sleep apnea (Bombak, 2014). These health problems stress the community resources such as reduction in financial capacity, health institutions become strained, and the general economic development declines. The vulnerability is the rate at which the population in an area is susceptible to health risks as a result of inherent obesity (Bombak, 2014). The interaction between the individuals, the community and the resources leading to developmental problems, personal incapacities, degradation of the environment, disadvantaged social status, poor interpersonal support and network (Brauer et al., 2015). The priority is given to different levels of vulnerabilities and the young population requires different types of intervention strategies. These interventions vary from the socio-economic development of the communities and the neighborhoods, income and educational policies to individual health interventions.
The values placed on these interventions affects how the society views vulnerability by being obese and their response to the measures put in place. For example, emphasis on exercise is sometimes perceived as a form of punishment by children and hence despised because overweight individuals believe that they are being castigated (Dietz et al., 2015). Therefore, obesity calls for the application of multifaceted tools and strategies that may be costly to the vulnerable population. The vulnerability involves several interconnected dimensions that include the individual’s capacity and actions, lack of or availability of intimate support, and community resources that may hinder or facilitate individual’s capacity to cope with interpersonal relationships. The community’s social capital is commonly used to characterize the network that links the people together in building reciprocity and social solidarity through loyalty and shared norms (Bombak, 2014). Constructive social capital is generated through participation in community relations to cope with primary health concerns for youths with obesity and overweight problems.
How The Organization Currently Serves This Health Care Concern
Obesity has been a major epidemiological challenge for doctors. The annual provision for health care resources for obesity and associated comorbidities is projected to surpass the $150 billion allocated in the federal budget (Brauer et al., 2015). Since the incidence rate of this problem has been rising over the last one decade in Manhattan, stakeholders have put major efforts to eliminate the possible contributing factors that have caused the obesity crisis (Dietz et al., 2015). There are various interventions that have been made by the government through health institutions to solve the problem of overweight. The actions being taken include assisting people to make better choices by encouraging them to take healthy diets and becoming more active.
Mount Sinai Hospital is the leading hospital that has for a long time been engaged in preventive and curative programs that are aimed at reducing the mortality rates related to obesity (Bombak, 2014). The institution provides guidance and counseling to parents and care takers on nutritional eating habits and exercising as a way of encouraging healthy body weight. Mothers of infant children are encouraged to breastfeed at least for six months before introducing other solid foods (Bombak, 2014). To school going children, the hospital staff has been encouraging schools to feed the children with the CDC recommended foods.
The organization is also in support of high taxation on calorific beverages to reduce their consumption and affordability in the market. The organization determines an increased consumption of junk foods and soft drinks is partially responsible for the increase in obesity pandemic (Bombak, 2014). The aim of these programs is to discourage children from accumulating body fats at early age. The challenge is that, it is impossible to remove fat cells once they form as they remain in the body forever and only the size of the cells can be reduced.
However, Mount Sinai Hospital has not been successful in preventing and treating obesity to completeness. This is because anti-obesity medications are few and expensive. The management determines that the only drugs approved by FDA for long term treatment of obesity are Xenical (orlistat), Belviq (lorcaserin) and a combination of phentermine and Qsymia (an extended-release of topiramine) (Bombak, 2014). In most times, Biaritric surgery is usually the most recommended, effective and most available option for people with extreme obesity (Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2014). However, this process is usually expensive and risky. It is for these reasons that Mount Sinai Hospital encourages preventive measures of ensuring an obesity-free population.
Another intervention is eliminating trans-fat (TFA) in New York and beyond. There has a tremendous increase in the consumption of trans-fat hence increasing the risk of heart diseases, overweight, and the WHO advocates for the complete removal of the fats in foods. To achieve this objective, Mount Sinai Hospital encourage consumers to reduce consumptions of the TFA labeled products. Although the food producers circumvent these requirements, the Food and Drugs Administration requires all TFA consumable products not to exceed 0.5g (Bombak, 2014).
Gaps in The Health Care Service to The Population
The Department of Health and Human Services has been mandated to improve the quality, efficiency, safety and effectiveness of healthcare for all Americans. Health disparities among the overweight and obese people in Manhattan Island emanates from inequality in access to health care and provision of quality care to patients based race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status. In Manhattan, health disparities are common among the ethnic minorities that include Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans (Bombak, 2014).
In order to bridge the health care service gaps between service delivery and meeting the demand for health care, the organization aim at tracking the quality of state health across the region to reduce disparities based on gender, age, race and socioeconomic characteristics among the population (Dietz et al., 2015). Priority will be given to the vulnerable groups in the population especially among children of low-income economic backgrounds. This is because they are at a higher risk of acquiring chronic diseases and they may not manage to receive adequate treatment at advanced stages.
In addition, the organization will promote the social determinants of health that affect the prevalence of obesity among the overweight and obese individuals. The practice would include promoting access to affordable and quality healthcare services, availability of healthy food, fostering accessibility to quality education, ensuring equity in accessing of community-based resources, promoting public safety, providing social support, and promoting access to job opportunities (Levi, Segal, Rayburn, & Martin, 2015).
Evidence-Based Strategies to Bridge the Gaps
Enhancement of health care services for the vulnerable populations is fundamental to reduce healthcare and health disparities. The healthcare inequities contribute to various physical, psychological, and social problems to the disadvantaged populations (Bombak, 2014). Therefore, there is a need for the organization to employ policies and strategies that promote equity in accessing the healthcare facilities. First, there is a need to tailor programs, policies, care, and services to the perspective of population’s lives (Bombak, 2014). For instance, the services should be patient-oriented, and this may be effective when the gender, cultural, demographic, and social contexts are taken into account. Secondly, the organization should adopt physical fitness programs (Bombak, 2014). The approach intends to enhance physical activity aimed at offering physical activity education, creating awareness, nutritional education, offering fitness programs, and providing nutritional counseling to the vulnerable population (Brauer et al., 2015).
Hospitals’ public awareness may be imperative to educate the vulnerable population on the potential risks that emanate from unhealthy nutrition and lifestyle. The hospital plans should provide useful information regarding the resources for affordable and accessible healthy food and the risks of high-calorie products (Ogden et al., 2014).
Possible Barriers to Implementing the Strategies
The major challenge in implementing these strategies may be based on people’s resistant to change (Regarding nutrition and lifestyle). It has been noted in some cases that people tend to find it difficult to stop or change bad feeding habits. As a result, this has made it challenging for doctors to achieve the required health conditions in the population.
Economic barriers are also a challenge because the vulnerable population may not be able to implement the identified recommendations (Brauer et al., 2015). The patients may not afford nutritious foods due to unavailability of financial resources hence opting for fast/junk foods. In addition, there may be additional costs if an individual enrolls for physical fitness programs. For instance, purchasing of equipment and paying enrollment fees.
Failure to address these barriers would lead to increased obesity rate. The resulting problem will be reduced production in the country and increasing the incidence rate of acquiring behavioral and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, Obesity-Related Cancer, Hypertension, gallstones, stroke, HBP, Arthritis, coronary artery diseases, and sleep apnea.
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