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PUBH6003 Obesity in Australia: Report Applying Systems Thinking in Public Health Assessment 1 Answer

ASSESSMENT BRIEF
Subject Code and TitlePUBH6003: Health systems and Economics
AssessmentAssessment 1: Report
Applying Systems Thinking in Public health
Individual/GroupIndividual
Length1,000 words (+/- 10%)
Learning OutcomesThis assessment addresses the following learning outcomes:
  • Apply systems thinking and an intersectoral approach to public health issues.

Context:

Public health professionals must work across various sectors and with key stakeholders such as other professionals and community groups in order to improve health outcomes. Often, these stakeholders have competing interests and conflicting ideas about health, and about what would be the most effective ways to meet public health needs and outcomes.

Stakeholders may not even share the same values related to improving public health. In some cases, using a systems thinking or intersectoral approach may pose many challenges for implementation.

Instructions:

To prepare for this assessment, choose one public health issue (e.g. obesity, a chronic disease) in any country for which it is obvious that a systems thinking approach has not been, or is not being, applied. Then in approximately 1000 words (+/- 10%):


  • Describe the public health issue.
  • Explain the roles of stakeholders, both within the health system and in other sectors in addressing this issue.
  • Drawing on research evidence, explain the obstacles that are preventing the application of a systems thinking approach to this issue.
  • Based on the literature, offer suggestions (e.g. new governance arrangements) for how a systems thinking approach could be applied to this issue.

Report Structure

Your report should follow the following structure. The word count includes the introduction, body and conclusion

Executive Summary
  • Purpose of report
  • Summary of Conclusion
  • Summary of Recommendations
Introduction
  • Acts as a window to your report
  • 10% of word count
Body
  • Answers the question
  • May include sub- headings
  • Carries the most marks
Conclusion
  • Summary
  • 10% of word count
RecommendationMay be in bullet point or continuous writing
  • Recommended strategies
  • Justifications
ReferencesAPA 6th Edition Style

Assessment Criteria

  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of systems thinking and an intersectoral approach (20%)
  • Shows the ability to interpret and analyse relevant information and literature on systems thinking and an intersectoral approach (30%)
  • Demonstrates the ability to apply knowledge and understanding of systems thinking and an intersectoral approach to a public health problem (30%)
  • Use of academic conventions including appropriate resources and referencing (20%)
    • Uses key readings and shows evidence of reading beyond the key reading
    • There is a lucid introduction and clear conclusion or summary
    • Complies with normal academic of referencing and bibliographical details (including reference list, use APA style)
    • Is written clearly with accurate spelling, grammar and sentence and paragraph construction

Answer

PUBH6003: Health systems and Economics

Assessment 1: Report Applying Systems Thinking in Public health

Obesity in Australia

Executive Summary

The disease name Obesity refers to a medical condition, in this medical condition, a person carries excessive body weight and fat and which, as a result, adversely affects their health and well-being. According to 2014-15 statistics, 63.4% of the adults and 27.6% of children are obese in Australia. Paper discussed various stakeholders’ role in the prevention of obesity in Australia as well as offered recommendations as well. 

Introduction

The disease name Obesity refers to a medical condition, in this medical condition, a person carries excessive body weight and fat and which, as a result, adversely affects their health and well-being. Medical science uses a tool called BMI or Body Mass Index to measure if a person is carrying excessive weight based on their age, gender and height. When a person has a BMI measurement between 25 and 29.9, it indicates they are carrying the excessive weight and more than 30 BMI means the person is obese (Brazier & Olsen, 2020). In Australia, 63.4% of the adults and 27.6% of children are obese, according to 2014-15 statistics (Huse et al., 2018). Obesity initiates several health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, and so on.

Roles of stakeholder and application of design thinking

Stakeholders roles in the health system

Stakeholders are concerned with people who manage the implementation of various health programs in order to ensure a positive working healthcare system. These stakeholders can be physicians, healthcare professionals, policymakers, government and non-government organisations or community leaders of Australia, and so on. 

Healthcare Sector: The entire healthcare sector stays operational because of various stakeholders such as physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals such as dieticians, lab technicians, NGO representatives, healthcare facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes and so on. These stakeholders are also responsible for the prevention of obesity, as well. Hospitals and nursing homes provide healthcare infrastructure to healthcare professionals and patients in Australia, which, as a result, helps with the prevention of obesity problems (Witten, 2016). Furthermore, healthcare professionals such as physicians, nurses or lab technicians also play an important role as they conduct health check-ups, analysis of data and work collaboratively.

Other healthcare professionals such as NGO representatives work at the community level in order to drive awareness in the society as well as gather community BMI data for future actions. Based on this community-based data, policymakers, on the other hand, develops various goals and funds preventive and treatment camps in order to achieve those goals to help with the prevention of obesity. 

Stakeholders roles in other sectors

Furthermore, the role of these stakeholders is not limited to the healthcare sector, and some of them also play an important role in other sectors as well. According to the WHO, these stakeholders make awareness programs in order to drive awareness among Australians about the complexity of obesity and its prevention as well. The Australian government has developed several policies to tackle obesity has 42 policy areas across Australia, where obesity prevention project teams work closely with the community (FPI, 2017). These project teams include nutritionists, healthcare professionals and other representatives to drive dietary awareness among the Australians. Furthermore, policymakers also drive awareness through various channels such as television, newspapers and the internet as well to reach the mass.  

Food retail businesses are also monitored and regulated in order to ensure the packaged food items are healthy and fast foods are less unhealthy and contains a lesser amount of fat in them as well. Furthermore, the importance of regular work out is also communicated in order to prevent obesity influence as well.

Obstacles in the prevention of obesity and the application of system thinking

Several roadblocks or obstacles create challenges for the prevention of obesity within the Australian communities. These are related to lack of awareness, unhealthy dietary, lack of physical activity, genetic factors, and so on. These obstacles are required to be overcome in order to facilitate a healthy and obesity free society.

Lack of awareness and Unhealthy diets: Even though various stakeholders are working with the communities to develop awareness among Australians about the complexity of obesity and various associated health complications. There are still gaps in this system, and as a result, Australians tends to consume more fast foods, fried foods or sweetened drinks. As these foods contain excessive calories, and these excess calories are stored as fat in their body, which is increasing the obesity issues in Australia.

Lack of physical activities: According to data published by the Department of Health, 2.6% of the disease caused among Australians is due to physical inactivity. Furthermore, they also reported that 30% of adult Australians are engaged in the low level of physical activity, while 14.8% had no physical activities at all (Gov, 2017). As in order to prevent obesity, physical activity is an important preventive measure, due to Australian people's reluctance towards physical activities, it is creating a challenge to prevent obesity. 

Genetic factors: Obesity-associated gene called FTO is also responsible for obesity as well. Because of this gene, a person is more likely to become obese and thus requires increased preventive measurement from their end (Fairbrother et al. 2018). As genetic factors can only be contained through regulating the eating habits, this factor can only be tackled through community-based initiatives.

Recommendations for the prevention of obesity

Following are some recommendations to prevent obesity among the Australians based on the previous discussions:

  • Healthy Living and Diet - The key to preventing obesity is healthy living and dietary practice. Thus, the intake of fast foods, fried foods needs to be reduced. Furthermore, development of nutritional diet chart based on BMI index is also required, as well as physical activities to regulate body fat is recommended as well. Regular checking of BMI is also recommended for people with a family history of obesity as well.
  • Community Programs to increase awareness - Even though Australia does have community programs to tackle obesity problems, more community-level awareness and BMI measurement programs are still required. As Australia has a high level of obese people, the number of programs requires to be increased as a result.
  • Conclusion

In this paper, the author focused on the identification of the root causes of obesity among the Australians and how various stakeholders and stakeholder groups play their role in its prevention. As obesity is the cause of several associated diseases and increases the complexity of these diseases, based on the key findings, this paper has also offered some recommendations as well.

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