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What Influences Health?

 What Influences Health?

For example, physical activity among youth increases when schools offer such facilities as basketball courts and sports fields . These strategies all relate directly to features of the built environment. The use of playground equipment is the leading cause of injuries to children in school and child care environments, with 211,000 children receiving emergency department care annually for injuries sustained on playgrounds .

Since adolescents typically spend a good deal of time away from their homes, explanations of neighborhood influences emanating from peer-based epidemics, role models, schools, and other neighborhood-based resources would appear to be more relevant for them than for younger children. Parental depression and psychological distress can have powerful negative effects on child well-being. Depressed mothers are more likely to respond to their children with withdrawal, diminished energy, or emotion or to express feelings of hostility and rejection toward their children (Frankel and Harmon, 1996; Field, 1995). Parents’ cultural backgrounds have been associated with the learning environments provided to children of all ages. In a recent study, immigrant parents of different cultural backgrounds—Cambodian, Dominican, and Portuguese—differed significantly with regard to the areas of their children’s education in which they were involved (García Coll and Weisz, 2002).

There also is evidence that mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods contribute to social capital, as measured by knowing one’s neighbors, participating in political life, trusting other people, and being socially active (Frumkin, 2002, 2003; Leyden, 2003). Finally, research has confirmed the direct relationship between physical activity and long-term health. School physical education programs over the past decade have in fact shifted toward an emphasis on physical fitness rather than competitive sports. Furthermore, some of these programs also improve children’s long-term social behavior, as indicated by fewer arrests and reports of delinquent behavior. Indeed, the payoffs to early education programs may well exceed those of formal schooling .

The built environment plays a major role in promoting or hampering physical activity in children. Schools, parks, and even sidewalks that are integrated into the design of a community can encourage physical activity.

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Easy Systems For Health News – Where To Go

These differences existed even when a large majority of parents in all groups reported valuing education and having high aspirations for their children’s educational attainment. Although relatively little research has assessed the nutritional environments provided by parents for overweight children, existing data suggest a strong environmental contribution confounded by genetic interactions. While the need to design effective family-based eating programs is clear, the evidence base for the effectiveness of such programs in the prevention or reduction of childhood obesity is limited . While social influences are important for children of all ages, their nature and form change over the course of childhood. In this section we describe the dynamic nature of the constituents of children’s social environment and illustrate how these environmental influences manifest themselves.

But it has also been hypothesized that traditional cultural practices serve as protective factors. The basic ingredients of neighborhood social organization can also be present in schools, although the ratio of ingredients differs . Students may feel connected to the class, and a well-run class may in turn increase their feelings of connectedness .

  • Depressed mothers are more likely to respond to their children with withdrawal, diminished energy, or emotion or to express feelings of hostility and rejection toward their children (Frankel and Harmon, 1996; Field, 1995).
  • Parental depression and psychological distress can have powerful negative effects on child well-being.
  • These differences existed even when a large majority of parents in all groups reported valuing education and having high aspirations for their children’s educational attainment.
  • Since adolescents typically spend a good deal of time away from their homes, explanations of neighborhood influences emanating from peer-based epidemics, role models, schools, and other neighborhood-based resources would appear to be more relevant for them than for younger children.

In contrast, the medical literature is replete with reports of the effectiveness of specific biomedical interventions that influence the course of particular diseases. John Bunker has gone further and estimated that health services in general account for about half of improvements in health in the most recent half-century .

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While his monograph demonstrates the important role of health services, it reinforces the simultaneous importance of other influences. Although few would debate the relevance of health services to improving individual health, many have actively debated the contribution of health services to the health of populations. Although there is increasing recognition of the effect of services in the behavioral and social arenas on health , evidence regarding specific outcomes of these programs is limited. There is evidence that these sources of stress are not limited to low-income populations but are experienced by groups with higher socioeconomic backgrounds as well (McAdoo, 1981; Tatum, 1987). One possibility is that of selection bias; that is, first-generation immigrants to the United States may be the healthiest and most motivated subset of potential immigrant families.

Social organization is affected by the degree of sprawl in a community; increased sprawl restricts the time and energy people have available for civic involvement and reduces the opportunities for spontaneous, informal social interactions. Sprawl also is associated with decreased use of public facilities, reducing opportunities to mingle with other people, segregating people, and disrupting continuity of community across the life span.

Exploring Uncomplicated Healthcare Programs

There is some evidence that water fluoridation has been particularly beneficial for communities of low socioeconomic status (National Research Council, 1993; Riley, Lennon, and Ellwood, 1999), perhaps attributable to their disproportionate burden and lower access to dental care. Evidence of the effectiveness of water fluoridation in reducing dental caries has led to other approaches to introduce fluoride, including the addition of fluoride in toothpastes and topical fluoride treatment by dental professionals. In more recent years, it has become clear that the nature of health services, rather than simply their presence, is important. The benefits of a strong primary care orientation are even more salutary for children than for adults .

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