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Obesity As A Global Burden Among Indigenous Population

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Question:

Obesity in Two Indigenous Populations of Australia and Thailand?

 

Answer:

Introducation:

The prevalence of obesity among the Indigenous population across various countries has thwarted the lives of many. The threats due to overweight and obesity have underpinned the health status of the people of these nationalities to a vast extent and efforts are in progress to mitigate the conditions and offer resolutions to the nagging issues thereby decreasing the chances of occurrence of health disparity (United Nations 2009). Hence I feel that the social determinants of health that encompass the complex and integrated system constituting the personal, economic, social, environmental factors that in turn influence the health of individuals should be critically analyzed. Such analysis will pave the way for better understanding the situations relevant to two nations, one having the developing status and the other one having an emerging economy (Perrin 2013). In the following report I will try to compare and contrast the global burden of obesity in the context of developed nation Australia to that of the developing country of Thailand for their social determinants as well as the intervention modalities. I will use information retrieved from suitable academic journal articles to discuss and provide an insight into the chosen topic of obesity among the two populations and the subsequent interventions that are rampant to curb the throbbing condition holistically.

 

Social determinants of health influencing obesity in the Australian and Thai populations

In my exploration for finding pertinent data with respect to the social determinants of health among the Australian population I came across findings that stated that in this developed nation, obesity has spread like epidemic with gravely affecting its inhabitants. More than half of the adult population fell victim to obesity or are found to be overweight. I also came to know that the relative prevalence of obesity is higher among the males compared to the females in Australia. The greater value of the markers for obesity in the form of Body Mass Index (BMI) is found to be the second highest contributor to the burden of disease that in turn is reflected upon the morbidity and mortality (Rahman and Harding 2013). In my endeavor to identify the social determinants of obesity I also came across a modeling study that predicted the epidemiology of obesity progression and its subsequent outcomes. The model estimated that the rising levels of obesity will bring upon wrath to the younger mass in contrast to the older adult cohort. In the situation relevant to the population, as per their predictions the healthy weight gain level is likely to decline with steady level maintenance of overweight. However, the rates of incidence pertaining to obesity as well as severe obesity are predicted to be increased manifold beyond 2016 thereby indicating for substantial increase of healthcare expenditures and concomitant implications in contrast to the bygone decades (Hayes et al. 2017). Further from these studies, I found that sedentary lifestyle comprising of lack of physical activities, improper nutritional intake and dearth of awareness regarding the potential hazards of obesity or overweight affected the Australian population more rigorously than anything else.

 


In contrast to the Australian population, I will try to compare the social determinants of health in the Thai population where the rates of industrialization as well as the per capita source of income are less that has acquired Thailand the developing status. While investigating on the specific issue I came across articles that vividly discussed and explained the prevalence of obesity in the Thai population and mentioned it to be the second highest in terms of prevalence in the Southeast Asian region. Thailand has been recognized as a nation with low and middle level incomes that in turn affects the cause of obesity because of potential strain imposed on the limited resources. On information procured from this study I found that the etiology of obesity may be attributed to the causes of leading of unhealthy mode of lifestyle that further accentuates the risk of the disease prevalence among the children, adolescents and elderly Thai population. The epidemiological survey related to the gender, age and geographical distribution of the obesity prevalence revealed that unhealthy consumption of food added to deteriorate the situation with increasingly higher rates of overweight and obesity. All these factors lead to increased levels of associated co-morbidities due to obesity that accounted for higher economic costs. I also found that the social impact of obesity is also greater in this population which again added for serious health consequences (Teerawattananon 2017). In another study that I referred to, findings based o the cross-sectional research suggested that significant lifestyle changes among the community dwellers in Bangkok in Thailand harbored negative health outcomes with increased prevalence of overweight or obesity. Alteration in dietary habits from traditional eating of consuming rice with vegetables were shifted to taking rice with animal meat among the current population that further lead to increase the consumption of energy dense food and caused for increased incidence of overweight and obesity in the relevant population. Irrespective of gender, dietary diversity through rise in the consumption of diversified food also contributed to the emanation of obesity in the Thai residents (Tsuchiya et al. 2017). Thus I feel that the impact of globalization has hit the Thai dwellers as well compelling them to shift their cultural and dietary patterns grossly from their traditional beliefs and practices.

 

Interventions to combat obesity in the Australian and Thai populations

According to the scenario in Australia, I came to know that the children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to encounter the adverse health impacts of obesity. Hence measures to resolve this issue has highlighted on tackling the nutritional policies and governing the food supply and food markets initiatives stringently. Studies have emphasized on taking strict control and actions to mitigate the sedentary lifestyle, consumption of energy dense in addition to nutrient poor food products and beverages (Lobstein 2015). On further probing into the matter regarding the promulgation of appropriate interventional strategies to ameliorate the condition of obesity, I came across article that indicated towards the cost effectiveness of engaging in the non-surgical obesity interventions in the concerned population. The suggestions and recommendations made in these studies relied on health education and healthy eating promotional schemes among the vulnerable population to safeguard against the negative impacts of obesity. Sex specific elements were found to majorly contribute towards cost effectiveness of the projected interventions and males were found to be likely benefited from adopting such practices (Boyers et al. 2015).Thus I believe, safe and suitable interventions in regulating the social determinants of health are vital to the Australian population.

On the contrary in the Thai population, the trends and prevalence of obesity as per the National Health Surveys’ data for the duration of 1991-2009 showed that socio-economic status of the inhabitants accounted for the onset of obesity. The average increase in the rate of prevalence was greater in both males and females irrespective of their level of educational attainment. I found that the researchers have constantly hammered on the issue of providing sufficient education for abating the problems that ensue due to obesity among the men and women in Thailand (Aekplakorn et al. 2014). As per the findings from another study I also came across the vital issue pertinent to the economic burden of obesity on the Thai population. The propositions made by the Thai policymakers suggested on the enhancement of public awareness and promotion of healthy lifestyle to abate the condition of obesity amongst the concerned population. Large scale and effective strategies in line with the situation relevant to the Thai population has been opined by appropriate authorities to resolve the scenario (Pitayatienanan 2014). Thus I feel that national health expenditure, and cost of productivity loss, cost of hospital related absenteeism and cost incurred due to premature mortality may be curtailed to a large extent on following of interventions in a satisfactory manner.

 


Thus comparing and contrasting the social determinants of health and the associated interventions in the developed and developing countries of Australia and Thailand respectively, I can infer that the nature of problem and the root causes behind the disease burden is primarily attributed to the unhealthy lifestyle and lack of physical activity. Therefore the interventions should aim to foster public awareness and knowledge to educate the vulnerable population and ensure their quality of life, wellbeing and healthy weight management. Hence, I further feel that tackling of chronic metabolic syndrome like obesity needs greater and collaborative approaches involving the stakeholders and the policymakers to harbor optimal and effective solutions.  

 

References

Aekplakorn, W., Inthawong, R., Kessomboon, P., Sangthong, R., Chariyalertsak, S., Putwatana, P. and Taneepanichskul, S., 2014. Prevalence and trends of obesity and association with socioeconomic status in Thai adults: national health examination surveys, 1991–2009. Journal of obesity, 2014.

Boyers, D., Avenell, A., Stewart, F., Robertson, C., Archibald, D., Douglas, F., Hoddinott, P. and van Teijlingen, E., 2015. A systematic review of the cost-effectiveness of non-surgical obesity interventions in men. Obesity research & clinical practice, 9(4), pp.310-327.

Hayes, A.J., Lung, T.W.C., Bauman, A. and Howard, K., 2017. Modelling obesity trends in Australia: unravelling the past and predicting the future. International Journal of Obesity, 41(1), pp.178-185.

Lobstein, T., Jackson-Leach, R., Moodie, M.L., Hall, K.D., Gortmaker, S.L., Swinburn, B.A., James, W.P.T., Wang, Y. and McPherson, K., 2015. Child and adolescent obesity: part of a bigger picture. The Lancet, 385(9986), pp.2510-2520.

Perrin, V.A., 2013. Social determinants of health. Health Affairs, 32(11), p.2060.

Pitayatienanan, P., Butchon, R., Yothasamut, J., Aekplakorn, W., Teerawattananon, Y., Suksomboon, N. and Thavorncharoensap, M., 2014. Economic costs of obesity in Thailand: a retrospective cost-of-illness study. BMC health services research, 14(1), p.146.

Rahman, A. and Harding, A., 2013. Prevalence of overweight and obesity epidemic in Australia: some causes and consequences. JP Journal of Biostatistics, 10(1), p.31.

Teerawattananon, Y., 2017. Obesity in Thailand and Its Economic Cost Estimation.

Tsuchiya, C., Amnatsatsue, K., Sirikulchayanonta, C., Kerdmongkol, P. and Nakazawa, M., 2017. Lifestyle-Related Factors for Obesity among Community-Dwelling Adults in Bangkok, Thailand. Kokusai Hoken Iryo (Journal of International Health), 32(1), pp.9-16.

United Nations. Department of Economic, 2009. State of the World's Indigenous Peoples (Vol. 9). United Nations Publications.

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