The state of health in America is a complex issue, with a wide range of concerns and challenges that are not shared by the rest of the world and must be addressed. However, a few key areas are particularly pressing and deserve focused attention. In this article, we will take a look at the top three health concerns in America today. Obesity, mental health, and chronic diseases can all be identified and treated with basic First Aid knowledge and skills. In a country where good health is reserved for the wealthy, taking a First Aid course could save your life and that of someone you love or make you the hero to a stranger.
Obesity is a major problem in the United States, with 43% of adults considered obese. That number does not include the growing epidemic of weight control in younger and younger obese children. Obesity is not only a cosmetic and social concern; it is a financial strain on any household budget and the public health care system. It puts individuals at a higher risk for a range of severe health problems, such as diabetes type II, heart disease, and even increases the risk of some cancers. Obesity is a complex issue with no singular cause or cure. It is often a contribution of several factors combining to become a toxic pattern or habit that is a detriment to your physical and mental health. Obesity is often linked to a lack of physical activity, poor dietary and life choices, and genetic predisposition. To address this systemic problem, it is important to focus on promoting and actively choosing to live a healthy lifestyle and make good choices that include regular exercise and a well-balanced diet with far smaller portions than the American culture considers to be small in a culture that up-sizes every meal to the extreme. That up-sized, more is better value mentality means the consumption in one American-sized meal portion is equivalent to that of a three-day portion of food for most other cultures.
The rise in global obesity is not a surprise, nor can it be blamed on a genetic predisposition, when overeating at every meal and opting for fast food and high sugar content foods that lack the nutrients, omega-3 oils, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals the body requires to function in a healthy manner is practiced. The global society cannot eat in a gluttonous manner and not expect massive weight gain to be the end result. Nor are fad diets and starvation or liquid-only diets the answer or a healthy choice. Moderation and fresh foods are the first place to start any road to achieving optimal health, and education is the foundation upon which society can make the right choices.
Mental health is another area of concern in America today. Mental illness has become a common problem, affecting millions of people each year in ways our forefathers could never have envisioned. The most common forms of mental illness include PTSD after military service, depression, and anxiety, and bipolar or psychosis disorders, which can all have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and interactions with society. A combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors causes these conditions. It is important to increase access to mental health services and raise awareness of the different types of mental illness to address this issue. We need to reduce the stigma associated with having a mental illness while educating people about what a mental illness means and what it looks like. Being able to recognize when the mental health of someone around you is slipping can enable you to provide mental health First Aid by directing them to the right sources to help them stabilize their lives before things slip beyond the point of quick fix and dive into the realms of intensive care and treatment that could be prevented if caught early. Society needs to understand that mental illness can be a temporary condition that can be quickly corrected and the person restored to full mental health. This type of mental health illness can result from the loss of a loved one that creates great depression and a need to withdraw from the world to heal, but they will, with time and support, come good. Other types of mental health illnesses can have a life-long impact on the person that requires medications and regular professional counseling and monitoring, such as psychosis like Schizophrenia. Mental illness is not contagious, but the effects of someone experiencing a mental illness can affect the people around them with prolonged exposure and no diagnosis and treatment.
Chronic diseases are a third major concern in America today. These are conditions that last for a long time, often for a person’s entire life. Examples include heart disease, cancer, diabetes type I and Type II, and asthma. Chronic diseases are a major cause of death and disability in the United States. They are often linked to poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drugs, alcohol, a poor diet high in fat, sugar, and salt, and the lack of sufficient exercise. To address this issue, it is important to focus on prevention, including promoting healthy eating and lifestyle choices and early detection and treatment of chronic diseases in the initial stage. Typically, chronic diseases are internal and hidden from direct view. They can go unrecognized for a long time before they reach a critical level that threatens the person’s life. Family genetics can play a role in some conditions where there is a family history of a specific condition, like heart attack, diabetes type I, and cancer.
The health of America is a complex issue with many different concerns and challenges. However, obesity, mental health, and chronic diseases are three areas that are particularly pressing and deserve attention. By focusing on promoting First Aid skills, healthy lifestyle choices, increasing access to mental health services, and early detection and treatment of chronic diseases, we can work towards a healthier future for all Americans.