Be a part of the solution: 3 Reasons to Study Public Health NOW!

A recent report issued by the CDC ranked the top 10 biggest public health issues across the United States and the District of Columbia. Among this list you’ll find the most prevalent reasons to study public health now!

1) Alcohol-Related Harms and Tobacco Use  

Excessive drinking is responsible for 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost in the US each year (1). These harms cost the US nearly $250 billion in the year 2010 (6).  Alcohol abuse can be linked to diseases such as heard disease, cancer, and birth outcomes.

Be a part of the Solution – public health allows students the opportunity to study health behavior, health promotion, and epidemiology. Together these disciplines help examine why people choose to abuse alcohol and how we can educate people about healthy alternatives.

2) Food Safety, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity

Poor diet and physical inactivity contribute to obesity, heart disease, and some cancers (3,4). From 2011-2014 approximately 17% of children and 36% of adults were considered obese. Medical costs due to repercussions of obesity cost the US nearly $147 billion dollars in 2008 (3).

Be a part of the Solution – studying public health gives you the tools to address nutritional needs at the population level, increase food access to groups in need, and education people on healthy options and alternatives.

3) Healthcare-Associated Infections, Heart Disease, and HIV

More than half of all hospital patients receive antibiotics and nearly 30-50% of all antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately (6). Unnecessary prescribing puts patients at risk for adverse reactions and potentially cause antibiotic resistance, making these drugs less likely to work in the future (6).

The CDC estimates more than 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV and 12.8 are not aware they are infected (7).

Be a part of the Solution: Studing public teaches you how to design and implement prevention programs specific to at-risk populations. You can also learn to educate people about their options and help design and influence policy initiatives that encourage healthcare systems to act on the behalf of the patient. 

 

References:

(1) CDC. Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI). Accessed Jun 12, 2015.
(2) Sacks JJ, Gonzales KR, Bouchery EE, Tomedi LE, Brewer RD. 2010 National and state costs of excessive alcohol consumption. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2015;49(5):e73–9.
(3) US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th edition. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office; 2010.
(4) US Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2008.
(5) Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, et al. Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2011–2014. NCHS Data Brief, No. 219. Hyattsville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2015.
(6) CDC. Vital signs: improving antibiotic use among hospitalized patients. MMWR 2014;63(09):194–200.
(7) CDC. Monitoring selected national HIV prevention and care objectives by using HIV surveillance data—United States and 6 dependent areas—2013. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2015;20(2).