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The aim of this essay is to analyze the health of the Southwark population in England. The paper analyses the physical inactivity profile of adults living in Southwark stating the disparities in their general health when compared to the national average. The health impact of physical inactivity which is a tool for assessing the needs of the population is vital in measuring the life indicators of a given population (Crinson, 2009). It has been designed in a way that estimates how certain disease cases could have been prevented in England if the 40-79 aged population had engaged in the recommended physical activities.
The essay is structured in a way that provides the geographical profile of the Southwark area giving its population. The health and well-being of the people will be discussed and compared to the national average health standards. The paper gives a concrete profile of the population’s health as well as explores the factors underlining the profile. The essay discusses the factors influencing the contemporary health of Southwark people. The population’s health needs are also discussed in the paper along with the external and internal factors influencing the behaviours and choices of the Southwark people. The needs of the population concerning health will be analyzed based on the theories of health and the trends of population. The paper will then give a conclusion and a recommendation.
The Southwark’s population was chosen as it will clearly demonstrate the learning outcomes. The chosen area, compared to other cities will give a great picture of the health inequalities in England. The populations in England are analyzed to determine their health profiles over a given period, usually one year. Research has shown that physical inactivity is among the leading causes of global mortality in the society and a major cause of chronic diseases, cancer, and diabetes (Reinhardt, 2012). This paper, therefore, focuses on the health and lifestyles of the population of Southwark, a small area in London.
The Main Body
Southwark Health Profile
Southwark is an area located in south London, which is a very diverse and dynamic city, where there are over 300 languages. Being a densely populated and geographically small, Southwark is located in the inner part of south London and stretches from the banks of Thames River to the start of suburban London south of Dulwich (Public Health England, 2014). Southwark has an ethnically diverse population which is relatively young with around 280, 000 people (Cross, Bhugra, Dargan, Wood, Greene & Craig, 2014). The population has significant contrast of poverty and wealth. Southwark has a distribution in the achievement of education, the quality of housing and employment access. Black Africans are concentrated in Peckham, Foundry, Liversey, and compose 16% of the population. 6% of the population represents the Black Caribbean’s population. This is rather high, compared to both, the London and national percentage of the Caribbean (Public Health England 2014). The white population, representing the majority in the area, composes 40% of the total population with the whites being concentrated around Southwark village, Surrey Docks, Riverside, South Bermondsey and Rotherhithe. Morbidity, risk factors and mortality indicators across Southwark are required to be compared with the national average.
Physical inactivity is estimated to cause 6% of the burden coronary disease, 10% coronary cancer and high mortality rates among the population aged 40-75 years (BHF National Centre, 2014, p. 1). In the UK, the figures are higher as physical inactivity is estimated to cause 10.5 chronic heart cases, 18.7 coronary cancer cases, and high mortality rates (BHF National Centre, 2014, p. 1). The physical inactivity is a burden on the entire economy and the cost of healthcare is becoming a highly prevalent issue in the UK. The current trends also show that many adults will have short life expectancy by the time they reach the age of 70 as compared to earlier generations (Arafat & Allen, 2005).The profile gives a snapshot of health in Southwark and compares it to the general average health of England. Southwark according to the map has around 274,400 people, and there are health inequalities which are observed within Southwark with about 60% of residents living in areas which have been classified as the most deprived in England (Public Health England 2014). Southwark has been interested in learning more about the daily lives of members of their community. The child and families’ welfare and wellbeing in Southwark have been improving according to the mapping report. Various factors are affecting the attainment of education in the area (Public Health England 2014). The factors include the neighbourhood, socio-economic status, and household income (Petersen, Gibin, Longley, Mateos, Atkinson, & Ashby, 2011). It should be concluded that the health of the Southwark population is worse, compared to England’s average health.
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The men’s life expectancy is low compared to the national expectancy for men in England. On the other hand, mortality rates are high compared to the national average. Mortality and life expectancy, which are the major indicators of health, have currently shown improvements, but there are significant signs of health inequalities in the Southwark population. Lack of exercises and smoking are the major causes of crime and drug abuse being higher than the average rates of England. Lack of physical activity and exercise is a common thing to many older people in the UK. Results from a 2009 study concluded that an estimate of less than 25% of the adults in Southwark engaged in physical activities for at least one hour a day. The people in Southwark, who are aged 35 years and below, are the majority representing over 58% of the population (Public Health England 2014). Southwark has the 9th highest population in the whole of England and Wales. By 2031, it is estimated that the population will increase by 28% to about 369,000. The adult population will greatly be affected by this increase.
The main health concerns in Southwark are the inequalities in health, deprivation, smoking, alcohol-related harm, violence and injury, nutrition, wellbeing, child health, teenage pregnancy, infant mortality and premature deaths. The area also faces social problems of unemployment, health changes, overcrowding, and migration. The male’s life expectancy is 78.2 compared to 78.5 for England as a whole. The life expectancy for female is 83.4 years compared to 82.5 for the national average, and this interprets to mean that the life expectancy of women is higher than that of men. Infant mortality rate in Southwark is 6.17 per 100 live births, and this is high, compared to England’s 4.26 per 1000 births (Public Health England 2014). Compared to England, Southwark showed poor results in deprivation, homelessness, and children in poverty, obesity in children, long-term unemployment, teenage pregnancy, STIs and drug misuse. Southwark has shown better results compared to England in smoking-related deaths, hospital stays for self-harm, early deaths from cancer, smoking during pregnancy, breastfeeding initiation, obesity in adults and life expectancy in females (Rowen, DMulhern, Banerjee, STait, Watchurst, Smith, Young, Knapp, & Brazier, 2015).
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Lifestyle risk factors like alcohol consumption, smoking, unprotected sex, and diets that are unhealthy have continued being major risks to the population’s good health. This has forced the area to have high incidences of emergency hospital admissions. This is because of conditions related to alcohol, many premature deaths resulting from cancer and cardio-vascular diseases with high prevalence of mental illness, high rates of HIV, and teenage pregnancy. Malignant neoplasm’s (cancer), coronary heart diseases, and respiratory diseases have remained the top causes of death in the local population. The models of prevalence diseases have shown high numbers of diabetes cases that are undetected. They have also shown high number of the cases of undetected hypertension and heart diseases. Unemployment and poor housing, which are socio-economic challenges, have resulted in high rates of child malnutrition and social exclusion. This in turn has contributed to poor physical and mental health, which is being manifested in the health inequalities. The Adult health in Southwark indicates 20.6% of adults as being obese, which has been mainly caused by physical inactivity. Hospitals indicated better results of alcohol-related harm compared to the national average of England. Smoking related death rate for Southwark is worse compared to England’s national average (Public Health England 2014). The rates of sexually transmitted infections, road deaths, and TB are getting worse compared to England’s average. Southwark’s priorities include emotional and mental wellbeing, and they are committed to preventing long-term conditions via reduction of risks of HIV as well as children’s early sexual intervention.
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Health disparities in the area are influenced by several factors. The factors include race, sex, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, geographic location and ethnicity (Petersen, Gibin, Longley, Mateos, Atkinson, & Ashby, 2011). They have contributed to the population’s ability to achieve good health. Southwark’s health currently is being affected by the availability and access to high and quality education, decent and safe housing. The other factors, which have contributed to disparities in health are culturally sensitive health care providers, nutritious foods, reliable public transportation, health insurance, affordable and clean water access (Acheson, 1998). They have all contributed to the health and wellbeing of the population of Southwark borough. Population health is considered to be the main domain of the public system, while individual health is the domain of the medical care system. The prominent among casual factors that influence population are genetic makeup, health behaviours, Medicare care, cleanliness of the physical environment and the society’s characteristics (Merrill, 2010). The Black Report (1980) argues that the proximal factors including family, friends, neighbourhood, work, health behaviours and social norms influence Southwark’s health (Acheson, 1998).
In the theories of population health, population transition theory, elaborated by Notestein, identified three demographics trends of societies based on the temporal relation between changes in birth rates and death rates (Binstock & George, 2010). The first trend is the incipient population decline type in which the birth rate has fallen to a level near replacement to produce a stationary or declining population (Earle, 2007). The second one is the transitional growth society in which birth rates remain high and death rates are rapidly declining with a high growth rate. The third one is a society with high to moderate growth rate caused by high but variable death rates and a sustained high birth rate. Demographic revolution is initiated by the secular decline in mortality in Southwark, which has been caused by cumulative effects of healthy lifestyles. In pre-industrial societies like Southwark, both birth and death rates are high, meaning the population growth is low. In the industrial revolution, societies show high birth rates and low death rates, thus leading to population growth like the current situation in Southwark. According to the Acheson Report (1998), improvements in health start at the primary health care leading to children living past age one and five which are the critical points for longevity (McPake et al 2002). Demographic transition is a complex process that requires many factors to come together, and completion of the transition requires a lot of commitment. Just like many families globally, Southwark families will limit the number of children only if they know for sure that the first few children they have will survive to old age.
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There are internal and external factors that will determine the likely hood of engaging in particular health behaviour and choices (Naidoo & Wills, 2008). Some of the internal factors that affect the health behaviours, and that are important in advocating of health relevant choices, are: knowledge of the risk factors and their reduction, attitudes, core values and beliefs, social skills of life adaptation, physiology and psychological disposition, such as self-efficacy (Warwick-Booth, Cross & Lowcock, 2012). The external factors that affect health behaviours and choices are social supports, environmental stressors, media, socio-cultural, political and economic factors, biologic factors, societal laws/regulation, and health care systems.
The absence or presence of any of the above-mentioned factors functions either by initiating or restraining the health behaviours. Individual lifestyle factors of the Southwark population are greatly affecting their health behaviours and choices. Many attempts promoting health of the public are focusing on the individuals and their respective lifestyles, which have proved to be fair. The way individuals appraise their role in controlling their lives appears to be important. People who attribute control to factors they cannot govern such as the chance or the behaviour of other people are said to have an external locus of control (Strunk, Ginsburg, & Banker, 2012). Psychologists draw health locus of control to describe the general expectancy that behaviour is either directly or indirectly related to health outcomes. An internal locus of control indicates the individuals feeling of control over health. An external locus of control relates to factors outside the individual’s control.
The profile of Southwark health and wellbeing has helped to understand the different lifestyles concerning health in the area. When compared to England as a whole, Southwark’s health result shows different patterns. Some indicators of health and wellbeing of the Southwark’s population have shown better results compared to the national average of England, while other have shown worse results. Major indicators of health like mortality and life expectancy have shown improvements, but there are many important inequalities of the indicators for the people who live in different parts of the borough. Excessive smoking and lack of exercise are the primary causes of crime and drug abuse being higher than the average rates of England. The paper has concluded that lifestyle risk factors like alcohol consumption, smoking, unprotected sex, and diets that are unhealthy have continued being major risks to the population’s good health. The paper has helped to understand the health theories in relation to population trends.
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Physical activity should be practiced by the Southwark population, and this will increase life expectancy by reducing the causes of death related to lifestyle. The local authorities should regulate smoking and alcohol consumption in the area as this will increase the life expectancy to approximately 90 years which will be a good result. The government should also take initiative in dealing with the increasing rates of mortality, teenage pregnancy and STIs by curbing the unemployment rates which is a major cause of these negative indicators. The Southwark area ought to be educated about population control so that the living standards may increase in the future.
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