Public Health Survey: Obesity


Obesity is an existing health issue among people of all ages and various cultural groups. Obesity increases one’s probability of dying from diabetes, heart disease, and stroke amongst many other possible health issues (Arteaga, Kudeki & Woodworth, 2009). It is a common trend that teenagers are more likely to suffer from being overweight. The phenomenon occurs mainly because they are in a stage of trying to define their identities. Therefore, they can be easily influenced by fast foods adverts. Moreover, teenagers have a low boredom threshold, meaning that they get bored easily. Hence, they prefer activities that do not consume much time. Fast foods offer a perfect option for this population, since it requires less time to prepare such food. However, fast food is a major contributor to obesity, since it contains a lot of calories with low nutritional value.

Data Sources Used to Assess Targeted Determinants

Some of the data sources used to assess determinants of obesity are obtained from CDC division of nutrition, NHLBI, obesity action coalition, and Shape America, amongst others. Body mass index is the aspect that is mainly investigated to assess obesity levels. BMI is obtained by subdividing weight in kilograms by height measured in meters. The table below shows WHO classification of BMI for teenagers.

BMI range Classification
< 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal weight
25 – 29.9 Overweight
30 – 39.9 Obese
>40 Morbidly obese

BMI is a very effective method, since height and weight measures can be obtained with high precision across numerous individuals without consuming a lot of time (Cole, Bellizzi, Flegal & Dietz, 2006). Moreover, the equipment needed to take these measurements is cost-effective. The expertise required to get this data is not too complex. Due to its simplicity and the proven connections amid BMI and undesired health conditions, it is the main method used to measure obesity levels for population surveillance.

The identified data sources gather facts on height and weight of people in the community. BMI is the major indicator that is used to assess the disorder’s severity. The data gathered requires interpretation by a specialist. The incidence occurs, since there are some factors that may cause the BMI of an individual to increase but not necessarily indicate body fat. For instance, teenage boys experience a rise in BMI. However, this increase is attributed to gaining fat-free mass. BMI also varies amongst different cultural groups (Hassink, 2010).

Data Collection Standards

 The data sources adhere to several principles of statistics that increase the validity of data gathered. Firstly, data is collected by a trained specialist. This move is undertaken to reduce the chances of error in the measurements obtained. This is a very important undertaking, since errors during data collection would lead to wrong interpretation of the BMI. The majority of organizations collecting this data train their staff on how to get accurate measurements from the samples obtained (Huaidong & Feskens, 2010).

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Secondly, the used samples follow the statistic principles of size. Size has a great impact on data interpretation. A small sample size is prone to two types of sampling errors, referred to as type one and type two error, respectively. Therefore, organizations use a sufficient sample size to increase the validity of data collection process (McCann, 2011). Usually, the data collected is used to formulate health interventions that control effects of obesity. However, inaccurate data may lead to wrong deductions about obesity prevalence in the targeted population. Therefore, strict adherence to the statistic principles of data collection is of utmost significance in the organizations sourcing this data.

Thirdly, conducting recent research is vital in increasing the validity of the data obtained, since people often exercise and change their diet. Therefore, their mass keeps changing. The data obtained in the past easily becomes obsolete. Organizations collecting this data are trying to regularly collect data from the target population. The information is important in identifying the population that is at more risk of becoming obese. Effective guidelines are then set to regulate population that is at a higher risk of acquiring a health disorder (Arteaga, Kudeki & Woodworth, 2009).

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How Data Sources Are Used to Determine the Focus of Healthcare

The data obtained on BMI from various populations in the community helps in identifying the population that is at a higher risk for acquiring health disorder (Cole, Bellizzi, Flegal & Dietz, 2006). The pertinent authorities can then formulate policies that will be used to control the health issue. For instance, teenagers have been identified as the group that is at more risk of acquiring the disease.

Teenagers are undergoing numerous changes, both cognitive and physical. These changes trigger emotions that result to the adoption of various characteristics. Adolescents are very impatient. They prefer tasks that take a short time to complete, so that they can have more leisure time. As a result, they end up consuming a lot of fast food (Hassink, 2010).

Fast foods are easy and quick to prepare. Moreover, the majority of fast foods are ready to eat and palatable. Hence, teenagers are motivated to consume fast foods. When given money for buying food by their parents and guardians, the adolescents will always opt to buy fast foods. Such foods usually have a lot of calories, which contributes to the addition of body fat that eventually results to obesity (Huaidong & Feskens, 2010). Upon accessing such information, health organizations can advise the relevant authorities to take measures that will regulate the consumption of fast foods by this group.

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Impacting Healthcare Determinants

Age is a leading determinant of health in the community. As people grow older, their immune system weakens. They become prone to acquiring numerous diseases. When they acquire the diseases, they might die due to the weak immune system that cannot overcome a certain health issue. For instance, the probability of acquiring health disorders, such as type two diabetes and heart diseases, increases with age. These disorders are crucial and result to death at their extreme occurrence. Health institutions, offering health services at the community level, should create more emphasis on the aging generation (McCann, 2011).

Technology is another determinant that impacts health. The level of technology determines the accuracy of the processes that are involved in offering services to sick patients. Technology increases the accuracy of diagnosis. This is a vital procedure, as it guarantees that a sick patient is treated for the condition they are suffering from. Additionally, technology is used in the production of equipment that offers crucial services to patients. For instance, the equipment used in diagnosis and treatment of cancer employ complex technological concepts that are available. However, technology level is not same amongst different communities (Arteaga, Kudeki & Woodworth, 2009).

Finally, the community’s health system is largely responsible for the current health status of a community. For instance, a health system that places more focus on preventive measures for all diseases is likely to have a healthy population (Huaidong & Feskens, 2010). Many diseases, acquired by patients today, occur as a result of improper lifestyle. These diseases can be prevented by a change in lifestyle. For instance, obesity can be prevented by having regular exercises and eating a balanced diet. The preventive measures are complemented by a sufficient education system. Health organizations regularly educate the community on techniques they can use to prevent many diseases.


Obesity is a serious health issue that the community of nowadays is facing. Health organizations should take measures, such as educating the public on ways they can use to prevent the health issue. Consumption of fast foods should be regulated amongst teenagers to ensure that they do not become obese.

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