The differences between health disparities and health equity can be clearly seen from their definitions. Health disparities shows the differences which occur when it comes to attacks by diseases. Sometimes we can note that some communities are more affected by diseases than others. The aspect of health disparity entails epidemiology, how diseases are distributed in a population and risk factors across different populations. In health equity, not all differences are addressed but address the concepts of equity in health including differences that are avoidable, unfair and unjust. Health equity addresses those differences which occur because the particular group is disadvantaged may due to its low social class or living in rural areas or in slums. In other words, health equity addresses those inequalities in health which occur due to artificial aspects which could otherwise be avoided. Or the inequalities are occurring due to unfair and unjust treatments. Health equity also addresses the differences which occur due to gender inequalities in health. According to health equity, allocation of resources and access to health care should be determined by health needs. Health disparities address those aspects of health which are natural and cannot be easily avoided. However it does address some other differences which can be avoided making a more comprehensive aspect of health because it is not specific rather it addresses all differences which occur in resource allocation and access to health care.
Therefore food insecurity exists when individuals do not have sufficient, safe and nutritious food for health and active life. It a situation where individuals cannot access food economically, physically and socially or the food they are receiving does not meet their dietary needs and preferences (Mandela). It is a situation where the three pillars of food security do not exist.
Contributors to food insecurity are diseases and ailments which may make consumption of food difficult. For instance a person with sores in the mouth may limit the person from eating adequately. A person suffering from malabsorption disease will not make full use of the food ingested. The other contributor is unstable social and political environment which may make production of food or its accessibility difficult (Mandela). High population growth may strain the natural resources which are used for producing food. Civil strife will retard the growth of economy resulting to less food availability. Low socioeconomic status also contributes to food insecurity because food may be available but individuals do not have money to buy it. Food insecurity may occur in circumstances where the food which is available is not the preference of certain individuals or it is not socially acceptable by some cultural beliefs (Mandela). There are some foods which are less bioavailable may be because they contain binding substances. For instance a food which contains tannins oxalates and phytates is less bioavailable hence even when individuals are consuming it, they are food insecure.
It is important that the federal government has decided to fund food assistance programs as it will improve food security especially to the vulnerable groups.
Women and Infants
The trends of breastfeeding in US are improving. This can be seen from the NCHS data which shows that the percentage of breastfed infants increased 60% in 1993-1994 to 77% in 2005-2006 (Margaret). During the same years breastfeeding increased among black women from 36% to 65%. The rate of breastfeeding increased more in high income (74%) women than low income women (57%) between 1999-2006. Older women seemed to practice breastfeeding more than young mothers. However the there was no significant change in trend at 6 months between 1993 and 2004 (Margaret).
Breastfeeding is a symptom of health disparity because it is showing the differences about health which are available in the society (Margaret). It shows the disadvantages which infants are facing making their health status poor not because it is something which cannot be controlled but something which can be avoided.
It is beneficial to be in a community that supports breastfeeding because mothers are going to have the psychological support from the community during breastfeeding. Mothers will have the courage to breastfeed from anywhere because it is culturally acceptable by the community. When the community supports breastfeeding, it can give information to mothers who are not willing to be breastfeed to change their minds and breastfeed. Additionally, it is beneficial to the infants since it will be a guarantee that they will be breastfed and will get all the benefits from the breast milk. Community is the most effective in giving support to breastfeeding mothers.
The challenges which a community that supports breastfeeding may face are that some mothers may not be willing to breastfeed at all at all even after a lot of support and education. Each mother stays at their own houses and unless they are no in the public, no one have evidence whether they breastfeed or not. Some might lay that they breastfeed while the truth is that they do not breastfeed. Another challenge comes when some mothers are suffering from HIV/AIDS and they do not disclose their status. The community might encourage them to breastfeed and yet they are not aware of the dangers which the child will face if precaution measures are not taken.
The major concerns breastfeeding friendly community is whether the community is aware of the useful techniques of breastfeeding or mothers will just breastfeed without proper positioning and attachment. Another concern is whether they know what is supposed to be done incase a mother has HIV/AIDS because if care is not taken, they may pass the virus to the child. The elements of a community that is friendly to breastfeeding are supportive and educative to ensure that mothers undergo the breastfeeding process without any psychological stress.
Health life depends on adequate nutrition. I will make the following recommendations to improve their personal practices. First one must ensure that they set aside at least two hours of exercise each day. Second is ensuring that they take a balanced diet containing the four food types at the right proportion. Third is ensuring that they take at least eight glasses of water every day. Fourth depending on the height of every individual, they should maintain a health weight through consumption of balanced diet and exercise. Fifth recommendation is to avoid junk foods and if they have to snack, they should take health snacks like fruits. Sixth recommendation is to reduce fatty foods, sugar and red meets. With these recommendations they improve their practices.
Adult and Aging Populations
Ageism is like an attitude, action, or institutional structure in which individuals are subordinated due to their age or assignment of responsibilities based on the age of an individual. It is a stereotype especially in the US. Americans believe that youth is full of beauty and health and so aging leads to loss of all these. The older audiences have been associated with low movement ability, reduced immune system strength, reduced teeth making eating difficult, reduced absorption capability, reduced sight and hearing, reduced physical activity, their income level is low because they have retired and their health needs are increased since they are very prone to diseases.
All these should be considered in public health nutrition and physical activity because this group has increased nutrition needs and since their immune system is less strong, they are likely to suffer from illnesses more often. Their motile ability is reduced therefore they are not involved in much physical activity. However it is crucial that they do physical activities to build their muscles because they are likely to shrink as one gets old. Due to old age they are likely to get old age diseases like osteoporosis, arthritis, and diabetes among other. Therefore their nutrition is supposed to be closely monitored.
The first strategy is physical activity in which each individual should set aside at least thirty minutes daily to exercise. This is because physical exercise is a preventive mechanism which helps one to remain health. The second strategy is consumption of balanced diet at the right ratios. This is to ensure that the body gets all the nutrients keeping it health and free from diseases. Third strategy is medical checkups independent of whether one is sick or not. This will help diseases to be diagnosed early enough for appropriate and easy treatment. Fourth strategy is positive living which includes being involved in any risky activity which can lead to compromised health status like unprotected sex or substance abuse. This is also a preventive measure and will protect from risky exposure. The fifth strategy is maintaining a high level of hygiene and sanitation. This will reduce exposure to disease causing bacteria and diseases like diarrhea which interfere with absorption.
The based approach here is the food safety initiative which is directed to the consumers. The department of health deals so much with food service works and rarely does it address the consumers directly. If food is contaminated, the person who is going to be affected is the consumers. That is why consumers need to be educated about food safety so that they can have the knowledge of assessing if food has been prepared from a clean place or not. Consumers can make choices according to the hygiene of the food serving place if they have the information. However, if the food servers have the information, it is not automatic that they will follow it. Hence they can take advantage of ignorant consumers. In addition to this, not most consumers eat from food serving points. Due to this reason, they need information on how to hygienically prepare their foods to reduce the risk vital food borne illnesses.
Food borne illnesses especially intoxication cause death within a very short time. Therefore consumers need to know about them so that they can take the appropriate measures incase something happens. Additionally, if consumers do not have any information about food safety issues, they may not be aware of what is happening to them if they get food borne illness after consuming food from a food service kiosk.
The new food safety modernization act provides that food supplied should be safe and that more focus is supposed to be on preventing contamination rather than responding to it. It provides that seafood industry should reduce or eliminate food safety hazards (Food and Drug Administration). It also puts attention to consumers and wants them to be more attentive to recalls. It also provides that accountability, streamlined dearances, transparency and prioritization of tasks based on public health impact. The major changes were on the prioritization of customers and ensuring that risk hazards are reduced or eliminated from the seafood industry (Food and Drug Administration).
National Food Assistance Programs (Anonymous)
National School Lunch Program SNAP WIC Senior Nutrition Program
School going children Low income families Low income Women, infant and children Those 60 years and older
Main nutrition needs of the population Energy since they are active children, vitamins to boost their immune system, proteins and minerals. Energy, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Energy, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Energy, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Nutrition services provided by the program It provides nutritionally balanced lunch. It enables low income families to buy nutritious foods. Nutritious food, information on health eating, referral to health care. Nutrition education, assessment and screening, nutritious foods.
Degree to which nutrition services meet needs The nutrition services are met since they have to meet federal requirements. The services the needs since they are able to buy nutritious foods for their consumption. This service meets their needs by supplementing their diet since they have increased nutritional needs. It meets the needs because the food is nutritionally designed to meet their needs.
Major strength of overall program It is onsite; therefore the probability of linking is very low. The benefits of the program go the intended children.
The strength of the program is enabling families to get nutritious food even if their income is low. The main strength is that they target the group with increased nutritional needs and supplement their diet. The strength of this program is that it provides nutrition to this group which is vulnerable.
Major weakness of overall program The major weakness is that it only provided lunch and did not mind other meals.
The major weakness is that their only specific food stores which might not have all foods. The weakness is that they give them checks or vouchers to purchase food and it is more probably that they share that food with other family members. The major weakness is that when meals are delivered at home, they may be linked.
Surveillance program that collects related data USDA USDA USDA USDA
Name of legislation that provides authorization and funding for the program The federal law The federal law The federal law The federal law
The most effective strategies to be addresses about food access is affordability in that food may be available but it cannot be accessed due to lack of money. The other strategy is infrastructure required to transport food to areas where it is not there or to the markets. The other strategy is whether there are people available to sell the food. This is because sometimes food can be in national stores and yet it cannot be accessed even by those who have money because they are no one to sell for them.
Anonymous. Federal Food Programs. Viewed on 27 April, 2011 from http://www.whyhunger.org/programs/fslc/topics/domestic-hunger-a-federal-food-programs/introduction/federal-food-programs.html, 2008.
Food and Drug Administration. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Viewed on 27 April, 2011 from http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/fsma/default.htm, 2011
Mandela, Nelson. The Magnitude and Causes of Food Insecurity and Prospects for Change. Viewed on 27 April, 2011 from http://www.usaid.gov/regions/afr/ghai/cycle/causes.html, 2011.
Margaret, McDowell, et al. Breastfeeding in the United States: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2006. Viewed on 27 April, 2011 from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db05.htm, 2008.