The Problems Affecting the Community Health

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Health, is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.as quoted by the World Health Organization (1946), A community is defined as a geographic area with specific boundaries, for example, a neighborhood, city or country (McKenzie, Pinger, & Kotecki, 2011). In the context of community health, however, a community is defined as a collective body of individuals identified by mutual characteristics such as geography, interests, experiences, concerns or values.

Many factors combine to affect the health of communities. Whether people are healthy or not, it is mainly dependent on their circumstances and environment. Although the United States, over the past century, has made significant progress in improving its citizens’ health and life expectancy, there is still room for improvement because the American people still face a myriad of public health problems (Charlton, et al., 2015). Moreover, specific segments of the American population, whose disease and death rates exceed those of the general population, may require additional resources, including education, to achieve good health. Below are several community health problems facing America in the 21st century:

The High Cost of Health Care Delivery

America has the most expensive healthcare in the world. By 2013, health expenditures were estimated to be over 3 trillion dollars. It is predicted that this figure will rise by 1.4 trillion dollars in 2020. In March 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law by the then president, Barack Obama (McKenzie, Pinger, & Kotecki, 2011). Its main aim is to provide health insurance to an additional 32 million Americans. However, the cost will also go up, continuing to make America health care the most expensive in the world.

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Environmental Problems

With a few minor exceptions, the rate at which we pollute our environment continues to increase. Millions of Americans reside in communities where water and air are polluted, and solid wastes are disposed of improperly (Charlton, et al., 2015). This level of pollution brings with it diseases that spread from one person to the other, hence concern for the United States community health. The United States government is taking measures to mitigate this problem.

Lifestyle Diseases

Unwise lifestyle choices of a significant number of Americans have resulted in chronic illnesses. Communicable diseases, for the past century, had been the leading cause of death in the United States. Poor lifestyle choices have since taken up that position. Obesity and diabetes cases are on the rise. Heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and stroke are the leading causes of death (Charlton, et al., 2015). Lack of exercise, poor diet, use of tobacco and alcohol and drugs have led to too many Americans dying prematurely.

Communicable Diseases

These are also referred to as infectious diseases. Communicable diseases are primarily responsible for days missed at school or work. Since the successful reduction of the diseases’ life-threatening nature, Americans have become complacent about taking precautions against contacting them; for example, they seldom obtain vaccinations to prevent them. Smallpox has been eradicated, but measles still plagues the community (McKenzie, Pinger, & Kotecki, 2011). With the emergence of new infectious diseases, old ones such as tuberculosis reemerge, sometimes in drug-resistant forms. Perhaps the terrifying fact about infectious diseases is that they have been used in bioterrorism. Bioterrorism is the use of infectious agents or other harmful biological or biochemical substances as weapons of terrorism. Alcohol and drug abuse

Domestic violence, crime, and unintentional injuries mostly result from alcohol and drug abuse. In American community, both the legal and illegal drugs are abused quite often. The abuse has led to the loss of both lives and money each year (Reisner, et al., 2016). Despite the state’s tireless efforts to curb alcohol and drug abuse, it remains a challenge in the United States community. Misuse of these drugs leads to poor health and unproductivity in the community.

Health Disparities

Health disparities are described as the difference in health among different populations. In America, the health status of minority groups wants compared to the significantly better health status of the white population. Experts peg this disparity to two main reasons: minority groups’ lack of access to health care facilities, and poor quality of health care services if and when available (Reisner, et al., 2016).

Disasters

A disaster is defined as an accident that causes loss of life in significant amounts. Disasters can be categorized into two main classes: natural and human-made disasters. Natural disasters include floods, hurricanes, blizzards, tornados, earthquakes, landslides, among others (Reisner, et al., 2016). These are forces over which humans have no control. Human-made emergencies, on the other hand, include intentional or unintentional human activities most associated with the use and misuse of technology. Both these forms of a disaster have recently, and in no small extent, impacted the United States (Charlton, et al., 2015). Examples of such accidents are the gulf oil spill (human-made disaster) and hurricane Katrina (natural disaster). Human-made disasters, such as bioterrorism significantly affect United States community health.

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