Food and a healthy diet

To achieve this activity I must identify the potential affects four factors that can influence the health and needs of an individual. M1 To achieve this activity I need to explain why each factor affects an individual. I am relating this to my work in P3 where I have prepared a case study about Holly, a middle aged single mother if two teenage girls who is over weight, smokes and lives in a damp terraced house that she rents, she also finds it hard to get out to local facilities due to poor transport links.

1. Being Over weight

Can increase the number of heart related illnesses due to the increased pressure on the heart to pump the blood around the body, these can be, high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, high blood cholesterol, diabetes. Poor circulation can lead to thrombosis, dizziness, feeling light headed and headaches. Poor flexibility due to excess body fat can lead to osteoarthritis; extra skin folds increase the chances of fungal skin infections. The additional fat around the neck and face makes overweight people snore and can bring on other sleep related problems like sleep apnoea. If surgery was a required, this can lead to problems with aesthetic and the ability to recover well after and operation.

An individual that is overweight can be bullied and teased about how they look this can lead to low self esteem and depression, and if this is left without medical intervention can lead to physiological disorders like body dysmorphic disorder. Often those that are obese will not want to go out and limit the amount of time they spend socially. Because an overweight individual is more prone to sweating then personal hygiene can be and issue, again this can lead to being left out by friends or colleagues.

An over weight person will have more fat on their body than that of a healthy one giving them a higher BMI (25+ body mass index), this means their heart will be put under added pressure from pumping oxygenated blood around the body leading to high blood pressure which can lead to further health implications. In comparison to a person with a normal BMI 18.5-25 (Food Standards Agency 2008) they would not have these health implications as the heart would be of a healthy size and would function with less pressure reducing the risks of heart conditions such as strokes, heart attacks and high blood pressure.

Being over weight can be caused by poor diet choices and a lack of exercise or in some cases having genes from parents who are a larger body frames, although someone that is over weight should have tests to rule out any possibility of an underlying medical condition such as an over active thyroid. An individuals environment may also be a factor, by working sat at a desk this reduces the level of activity throughout the day, which would mean that less calories were being burned compared to someone with a busy job like a post person who spends most of their working day walking, they will be burning off calories and therefore be less likely to gain weight.

2. Smoking

As a direct result of smoking and individual increases their chance of lung disease, lung cancer, cancer of the mouth, poor dental hygiene gum infections this is due to the body’s intake of nicotine and tar that are present in tobacco. Smokers will have smelly clothes and their fingers, hair and breath will all smell too. Nicotine reduces fertility in men and women and is harmful to the unborn child. Passive smoking is as dangerous as being a smoker. A person who already has existing respiratory conditions and also smokes will find themselves more breathless that that of a non smoker, for example a non smoker who has asthma requires less management and drugs that that of a smoker with asthma as the non smoker will have fewer toxins that aggravate the lungs and can cause further respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis.

It is illegal to smoke in a public place, and whilst smokers have designated smoking areas it can lead to feeling excluded from your friendship group. Smoking in the home will make the house smelly and could put off visitors from coming round, as they too will smell when leaving or may not what to be exposed to passive smoking.  A smoker will have a lower lung capacity to that of a non-smoker; this means their body has to work harder to pump the oxygen around the body. A smoker inhales more toxic fumes than that of a non-smoker, which leads to tar in the lungs, and the in halation of smoke that then causes cancers in the body. Nicotine causes staining to teeth gums nails and fingers, a non-smoker will not have these issues.

Poor Housing

Can increase the chances of living in a home with inadequate heating leading to a damp atmosphere, this in turn can lead to chest infections coughs and colds. Vulnerable people like children and the elderly and those with asthma are particularly at risk from fighting bronchial disorders. Overcrowding is common in poor housing and can lead to more accidents within the home due to more people sharing the living spaces.

RoSPA says that in 2002 there were 13 % more accidents in over crowded homes compared to the average sized family home. If lots of people are sharing bedrooms it can lead to sleep deprivation, which in turn can bring on stress and headaches. This can cause problems at work as lack of sleep reduces the brains ability to concentrate. With more people comes more clothes washing and if this is not done promptly bacteria can grow and spread between the clothes, whilst washing at 40? makes it more economical for those on a budget it does not kill off the bacteria that lives in underclothes, if this is then left for days without washing this can spread between family members, leading to cross infection.

Poor heating can make it difficult to keep a house warm and well ventilated it would make drying clothes a problem especially in winter, having a window open to vent a tumble dryer would not be a viable option as these are costly to run, which would have a further impact on a small financial budget, leaving less money for food, and a healthy diet.  Safety would be an issue living in a dangerous or over populated area can affect your mental health, making an individual more anxious leading to further health problems like, high blood pressure, panic attacks and stomach ulcers. Affecting your mental health could also lead to depression, making an individual feel worthless and have a negative outlook on life. It would limit your ability to go out and cut you off from social activities.

An individual that is in poor housing will have a higher risk of chest infections due to living in a damp environment. Dust mites thrive in damp environments and these can cause lung allergies in people that are not fit including the elderly and children. A person with asthma compared to a non asthmatic find living in a damp environment would have a huge impact on their health, they would have more asthma attacks would be prone to more chest infections because dampness causes mould which causes mould spores to be inhaled this would aggravate existing lung conditions exaggerating those symptoms and increasing medications required to manage the condition, in comparison to an individual living in a clean, dry and healthy environment will not have the mould spores or the dust particles so an asthmatic in these conditions would have a higher quality of air and would require less medication and suffer from fewer effects from the condition. Individuals on a poor income are also at risk due to lack of a good diet to boost the immune system.

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