People’s health depends not only on things that a person can control. Some factors influence human well-being as much as individuals’ behavior, but they are more difficult to change because it requires much effort of the government or the entire community. For this reason, it is essential to estimate the degree to which various determinants affect people’s health and address the most significant of them. This paper will consider the community of Miami regarding the factors influencing its well-being, the most important health indicators, and the promotion of health in mass media
The factors influencing health are divided into four groups: individual, community, interpersonal, and environmental. In Miami, it is possible to single out two key factors in each group of factors influencing community health. Among individual determinants, the most significant is drug abuse, which causes 305 deaths from overdoses and an increasing number of newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome (Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, 2019). Another key factor in this group is an unhealthy diet, leading to overweight in 38.7% of adult people (Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, 2019, p. 141). The most important health determinant of interpersonal influences is social support since the lack of it causes people to have depression and a tendency to suicide or violence. Social norms are another significant factor because they determine acceptable behavior within a group of peers and thus may lead people to misconceive healthy habits or drug use.
Key community factors influencing public health in Miami are poverty and crime. High rates of poverty are the reason for people’s inability to provide themselves with an adequate diet and proper sanitary conditions. In Miami-Dade County, the poverty level reaches 25% in the population aged under 18, 16% in people aged 18-64, and about 21% in those older than 65 (Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, 2019, p. 127). Crimes are a significant factor because they often result in injuries that are “the third leading cause of death” in the USA (Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, 2019, p. 134). Even if they do not have a fatal outcome, they harm people’s health by increasing stress and anxiety.
Among environmental influences on community health, the most important are homelessness and transportation. It has been estimated that Florida has the third-highest rates of people lacking a home (Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, 2019). As for transportation, over 10% of the county residents do not possess a vehicle, which is higher than in Florida and the entire country (Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, 2019). However, the developed transport network enables people not to have automobiles to access healthy food and places of recreation. Thus, in Miami, individual and community factors have the most effect on public health, while interpersonal influences are of the least importance.
Healthy People 2010 is a national program designed to improve the health of the US population and preventing illnesses. It has defined a list of health indicators, which includes substance abuse, mental health, nutrition and exercise, social determinants, access to healthcare, violence, and injury. According to the Health Council of South Florida (2016), in Miami, such social determinant as poverty has the greatest impact on health and wellness. It affects 28% of children and causes 33% of people to have severe housing problems (Health Council of South Florida, 2016, p. 15). Physical activity is the second most important health indicator since nearly 67% of people are estimated to be insufficiently active, and 38% are overweight (Department of Health State of Florida, n.d.). Finally, Miami-Dade County is among the least favorable states regarding crime rates. Thus, such health indicators as poverty, physical activity, and violence are the most significant factors influencing health and wellness.
In Miami, various media are used for promoting health and preventing illness. For example, a daily newspaper, the Miami Herald, covers the healthcare news along with other topics. It also has a website with two sections devoted to health and a healthy lifestyle: Health & Fitness and Health Care. The print newspaper is effective for older people who are not comfortable with the Internet, while the website is a better way of promoting health for youth.
Another example is CBS Miami, a television channel broadcasting news alongside other programs. It informs people of important healthcare issues in a special rubric of their news program, which is called Health Alert. The channel has a website where one can find videos on this topic. Television is a more efficient way of spreading healthcare information than print newspapers because visual images are easier to remember and tend to affect the impressible audience.
Finally, the Consortium for a Healthier Miami-Dade, an establishment aimed at promoting and improving the health of the county community, uses a variety of ways of popularizing a healthy lifestyle. It has billboards, TV and radio advertisements, brochures, newsletters, and leaflets in its store. Billboards seem to be the most attractive means of health promotion since they appeal directly to the target audience. Other printed materials may be neglected by people because they focus on the Consortium’s goals and achievements rather than suggestions for human health.
In conclusion, the community of Miami has several issues to address in order to improve public health. They include poverty and homelessness, lack of physical activity, and an unhealthy diet, causing overweight and high crime rates. The most significant health indicators in Miami-Dade County fall into individual and community factors, while interpersonal influences appear to be the least influential. Finally, among media used for promoting health, television, and billboards seem to be more effective, while brochures and other printed materials are less efficient.
Department of Health State of Florida. (n.d.). County health status summary profile – 2018. Web.
Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County. (2019). 2019 community health assessment: Miami-Dade County, Florida. Web.
Health Council of South Florida. (2016). Community health needs assessment. Web.
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