Which Contribute to Low Health Expectancy in Developed Countries
Outline the factors which contribute to low health expectancy in developed countries. Identify and assess possible solutions to reduce this problem. Health expectancy is “the number of years a person can expect to live in good health”. (New Zealand Ministry of Social Development, 2010). It reflects concern about the quality of life. Furthermore, low health expectancy means that people live in poor health which is affected by diseases and disability. Many factors contribute to low health expectancy, including smoking and obesity.
Society should pay more attention to solve these problems to increase health expectancy. This essay will outline the factors which lead to low health expectancy, and then discuss the possible solutions to reduce the problem. First of all, it is obviously smoking is a factor leading to low health expectancy which is very common in developed countries. To begin with, smoking prevalence in European countries is 32% which is an extremely high number (WHO, 2012). In addition, there are some diseases caused by smoking is a well-known fact, such as lung disease and stroke.
However, people aren’t aware that how serious it is the smoking problem affect to people’s health. In fact, WHO (2008, p. 14) points out “smoked tobacco in any form causes up to 90% of all lung cancers,” and a dozen different kinds of cancer and chronic disease are caused by smoking. To sum up briefly, smoking has a very serious impact on people’s health and life in developed countries. Then, this problem could be solved by reducing smoking prevalence and improving people’s awareness of the risk of smoking.
The solutions will focus on three aspects which are individual, tobacco industry and the government. Firstly, the solution for individual is quit smoking. Quit smoking is the direct effective way for smokers to increase health expectancy. According to WHO (2012), there are three-quarters of smokers want to quit smoking. However it is clearly that the number who quit smoking successfully is far below this data, the main reason for the failure is smokers are addicted to nicotine. The nicotine in tobacco is not only causing a variety of diseases but also leading a highly addictive (Hammond, 2009. . Secondly, the solution for the tobacco industry, they could do the appropriate measures such as add health warnings on tobacco packages, health warnings on tobacco packages increase smokers’ awareness of their risk (WHO, 2008, p. 34). But unfortunately, the tobacco industry would not be willing to do it unless the policy requires them to do so. However, the relevant policies in many developed countries are lacking. So if the national laws and regulations force the tobacco industry to do it then the solution would be more effective.
Thirdly, the solutions for government, the government should ban on tobacco advertising and raise tobacco taxes. WHO (2008, p. 37) states that if the government ban on tobacco advertising that the tobacco sales will have up to 16% decrease. In addition, increase tobacco taxes could raise the price of tobacco. According to WHO (2008, p. 39) that “increasing the price of tobacco through higher taxes is the single most effective way to decrease consumption and encourage tobacco users to quit”. In conclusion, the smoking problem will be solved by joint efforts of the whole community.
Apart from that, another important factor which decreases people’s health expectancy is obesity. WHO (2012) states that obesity will become a major factor lead to lower health expectancy in the later parts of this century. Moreover, in developed countries obesity is a very severe problem that affects over 20% of adults on average (OECD, 2011). Furthermore, according to WHO (2012), obesity is the main reason which causes cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and several types of cancer. That means overweight people are expected to have a low health expectancy.
To solve the problem of obesity, the solution could be considered from three aspects. The first aspect is at the individual level, people should reduce the energy intake from total fats and take regular physical activity to prevent overweight, because obesity is caused by high-energy food intake and lack of physical activity (WHO, 2012). But obviously, this need people have a strong self-control, also diet and excessive exercise may be able to cause the other health problems. The second aspect is about the food industry, the main source of the high-energy food is processed food.
Therefore the food industry should reduce the content fat, sugar and salt in processed food, and try their best to provide fresh food, such as fruit, vegetables and nuts. However, the more healthy food will bring about higher prices, and then people will spend more money to improve the quality of their food. The third aspect is about the government and social organizations. The Government has a responsibility to help people to improve awareness of the prevention of obesity and to build more public exercise facilities. In terms of social organization, they should cooperate with the Government to implement the policy about obesity.
For example, the advertising industry should increase the number of public service advertising about to improve people’s awareness of the risk of obesity? However, this will take a long time and a lot of money. To conclude, healthy expectancy is the indicator of the quality of life. This essay has discussed that health expectancy is reduced by negative factors including smoking and obesity. So it is necessary to analyse these factors, identify and assess the solutions from the aspects of individual, organization and the government to solve the problem, and then to improve people’s health expectancy and the quality of people’s lives.
References Hammond, S. K. (2009). Global Patterns of Nicotine and Tobacco Consumption. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag New Zealand Ministry of Social Development. (2010). Health expectancy. Retrieved October 17, 2012 From: http://socialreport. msd. govt. nz/health/health-expectancy. html OECD. (2012). Obesity update 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2012. From the OECD website: http://www. oecd. org/els/healthpoliciesanddata/49716427. pdf WHO. (2012). Facts and figures. Retrieved October 17, 2012. From: http://www. euro. ho. int/en/what-we-do/health-topics/disease-prevention/tobacco/facts-and-figures. WHO. (2012). Obesity. Retrieved October 21, 2012. From: http://www. euro. who. int/en/what-we-do/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/obesity WHO. (2012). Obesity and overweight. Retrieved October 21, 2012 From the World Health Organization: http://www. who. int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/ WHO. (2008). WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008: The MPOWER package. [Electronic version]. Geneva: World Health organization.