Unemployment and Good Health in our Community
Health is strongly linked to education and income: Good health allows children to learn better and adult to increase their income through productive work. Conversely, health problems often lead to increased school absences (a predictor of dropping out of high school) among children, as well as increased on the job absences by adults. To further connect the dots, entry level and lower paying jobs are often without health benefits. A lack of health care coverage often means that primary care – so important to preventing or treating illness before it becomes more serious – is an unattainable luxury. A serious illness with no or insufficient health insurance has driven thousands of Americans into financial crisis. Fifty percent of bankruptcies in 2005 and 2006 were caused by medical debt. Key markers contribute to a health progression through life: a normal birth weight, preventive health care beginning in earliest childhood, and avoiding risky behaviors and stay8ing healthy as a youth and adult.
Maternal health and infant well-being start children off in the right direction. It is ironic that underweight babies are a concern when America is simultaneously worried about obesity among children and adults, but low birth weight (5 pounds, 8 ounces or less) can lead to developmental problems later in life. The number of babies born at a low birth weight increased over the last 10 years to 8.2 percent, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. That’s 1 in 12 babies. Among the many causes of low birth weight – pregnant women’s poor nutrition, teen pregnancies, smoking and substance abuse, and lack of prenatal care – are preventable factors that can be addressed at the community level. Health care coverage for children means they are more likely to receive preventive health care (such as immunizations, physicals and nonemergency treatment).
Those with health insurance are more likely to receive regular care. The percentage of children with health coverage has increased slightly, but data from the Current Population Survey of the US Census Bureau show that almost 12 percent (one in eight) of America’s children remain without such insurance coverage.
The health of America’s youth and adults is also a serious concern. In looking at data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over one-third of youth in grades 9 to 12 and one-third of adults can be considered healthy, with the percentage stagnating for youth and worsening for adults when compared to a decade ago. For this reason, boosting the number of health youth and adults is our third goals for advancing the common good.
Heart Disease Deaths
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Disease does not occur in isolation and cardiovascular disease is no exception. Cardiovascular health is significantly influence by the physical, social, and political environment, including: maternal and child health; access to educational opportunities; availability of healthy foods, physical education and extracurricular activities in schools; opportunities for physical activity, including access to safe and walkable communities; access to healthy foods; quality of working conditions and worksite health; availability of community support and resources and access to affordable, quality healthcare. (Healthy People 2020). Data Source is 2011 PRC Community Health Report, Ephraim McDowell