Scientific Literacy: Health And Social Care

Scientific Literacy: Health And Social Care

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Scientific Literacy: Health And Social Care

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Scientific Literacy: Health And Social Care

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Discuss about the Scientific Literacy for Health and Social Care.

The rise and prevalence of obesity has become a major burden for public health and social care. The prevalence of obesity has increased in Australia from 56.3% in 1995 to a staggering 63% in 2014-2015 (Huffington Post Australia 2017). This depicts the alarming rate in which the Australian population is getting obese. The rise in obesity has escalated major health issues. This is because obesity is the risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers and certain muscoskeletal conditions. Hence, obesity indirectly puts a strain on the health system of Australia. The report discusses in detail the adverse impact of obesity on people and the need to appropriate legislation required to overcome the problem.
Impact of Obesity on Health
Obese people has been found to be at increased risk of serious chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart, stroke and other diseases compared to people with normal weight. High blood pressure is associated with increased workload of the heart and increase in heart rate. On the other hand, obesity is the major cause of diabetes as it cause resistance to insulin, the hormone involved in regulating blood sugar. Heart diseases like artherosclerosis is also found more in obese people compared to non-obese people (Hinnouho et al., 2015). Therefore, chest pain, stroke and heart attack is common in obese people. Overweight also causes joint problems due to extra pressure on the knee and hip joints (Musumeci 2015). Hence, obesity is the reason for high mortality rate worldwide as well as in Australia.
Apart from health related impact, obesity significantly affects the quality of life and psychosocial well being of people. In some culture, being slim and physically fit has been regarded as a sign of physical attractiveness and this creates disadvantage for obese people. Therefore, people with obesity are often found to experience and discrimination in society. These experiences demoralizes them and lowers their self-esteem. Emotional distress is common among them and many obese patients requites psychiatric pharmacotherapy to manage their mental and emotional stress (Taylor et al. 2013).  Another study also suggests that obese youth are at increased risk of peer victimization which exposed them to psychosocial problems and physical activity avoidance (DeSmet et al. 2014). Hence, experiences of victimization act as a barrier to healthy lifestyles among obese young adults.
Legislation Required to Overcome the Issue
Behavioral, environmental, genetic and social factors are the cause for obesity. Behaviors such as overeating and lack of physical activity have been highly regarded as a factor contributing to obesity. Health care providers are mostly involved in modifying behavior of patients through education, diet planning and motivational interview strategies (Resnicow et al. 2015).  However, there is a need for policy level action to reduce obesity particularly in the youth population. This may involve legislation related to complex issues surrounding diet and health of population. As youth population mostly consume high fat and sugar rich foods, key legislation will be required to curb unhealthy eating habits.
Legal development to prevent obesity includes working in the area of reducing the consumption of calorie rich and low nutritional value foods. To reverse the obesity epidemic in Australia and its adverse health related consequences, legislations and government regulations at both local and national level is needed to improve nutritional choices of the population enhance access to healthy foods and increase public awareness about healthy lifestyles. Educational programmers’ can also be arranges in schools to evaluate BMI of youths and provide children health counseling (Dietz  et al. 2009).
Physical inactivity is another area where policy development is immediately needed. Health promotion activities can be done to enhance physical activity in people. The main goal in developing legal policies related to physical activity promotion might include bringing changes in the area of public health, transport, environment and education. For example, transport related policies may focus on promoting cycling and walking opportunities for citizens. People often restrict physical activity due to their physical environment and environment related policies like development of urban planning strategies may encourage physical activity. Another important policy area is that youth and children are highly engaged in video games and mobile games as part of their leisure activities. Hence, sports policy can encourage youths to take sports as a form leisure activity to maximize physical activity (Lachat et al., 2013). The figure provided in appendix reflects the main action as summarized in this section.
The report on impact of obesity and legal requirement to address the issue summarized the health related consequence of obesity and its impact on quality of life. Apart from adverse health implications, it also revealed poor psychosocial well-being in obese groups due to experience of victimization and bullying. This also created risk for mental illness among them due to continued period of emotional distress. Considering rise in physical activity, overeating and unhealthy lifestyle as a cause of obesity, the report proposes that the main legal development is required in these areas to prevent obesity and reduce the mortality associated with it. 
DeSmet, A., Deforche, B., Hublet, A., Tanghe, A., Stremersch, E. and De Bourdeaudhuij, I., 2014. Traditional and cyberbullying victimization as correlates of psychosocial distress and barriers to a healthy lifestyle among severely obese adolescents–a matched case–control study on prevalence and results from a cross-sectional study. BMC public health, 14(1), p.224.
Dietz, W.H., Benken, D.E. and Hunter, A.S., 2009. Public health law and the prevention and control of obesity. Milbank Quarterly, 87(1), pp.215-227.
Hinnouho, G.M., Czernichow, S., Dugravot, A., Nabi, H., Brunner, E.J., Kivimaki, M. and Singh-Manoux, A., 2015. Metabolically healthy obesity and the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes: the Whitehall II cohort study. European heart journal, 36(9), pp.551-559
Huffington Post Australia. 2017. Shocking Statistics That Illustrate Australia’s Obesity Problem. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].
Lachat, C., Otchere, S., Roberfroid, D., Abdulai, A., Seret, F.M.A., Milesevic, J., Xuereb, G., Candeias, V. and Kolsteren, P., 2013. Diet and physical activity for the prevention of noncommunicable diseases in low-and middle-income countries: a systematic policy review. PLoS Med, 10(6), p.e1001465.
Musumeci, G., Aiello, F.C., Szychlinska, M.A., Di Rosa, M., Castrogiovanni, P. and Mobasheri, A., 2015. Osteoarthritis in the XXIst century: risk factors and behaviours that influence disease onset and progression. International journal of molecular sciences, 16(3), pp.6093-6112. 
Resnicow, K., McMaster, F., Bocian, A., Harris, D., Zhou, Y., Snetselaar, L., Schwartz, R., Myers, E., Gotlieb, J., Foster, J. and Hollinger, D., 2015. Motivational interviewing and dietary counseling for obesity in primary care: an RCT. Pediatrics, 135(4), pp.649-657.
Taylor, V.H., Forhan, M., Vigod, S.N., McIntyre, R.S. and Morrison, K.M., 2013. The impact of obesity on quality of life. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 27(2), pp.139-146
The New Daily. 2017. Australia’s fattest suburbs I The New Daily. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].

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