How Modern Lifestyle Affects Public Health?

Lifestyle: Lifestyle is the typical way of life of an individual, group or culture. Lifestyle includes daily life behaviors and functions of individuals in the workplace, activities, fun, diet and households. Lifestyle is formed in specific geographical, economic, political, cultural and religious text.

Lifestyle is made up of motivations, needs and wants and is influenced by culture, family, reference groups and social class.

How Modern Lifestyle Affects Public Health?

Modern Lifestyle: Modern lifestyle is totally different from old lifestyle in attitude, life rhythm and physical condition. Technology involvement is very high in today’s lifestyle. People are more familiar with technological gadgets nowadays. Technology provides comfort and reduces physical activity of people and also reduces time of work.

Correlation Between Modern Lifestyle and Health

Essential factor of health is lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle like a proper diet, proper physical fitness and a healthy weight can provide positive health. Unhealthy lifestyle behavior may raise health related issues like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases and other chronic diseases. Lifestyle can affect our physical, psychological and social health. Hence, it is very important to understand the relationship and maintain the right balance between modern lifestyle and health.

Various Modern Lifestyle Habits That Influence Health

  1. Diet and Body Mass Index (BMI): Diet is the most important factor in lifestyle and is directly related with positive health. People’s eating behaviour has changed from before. Earlier, the people took a diet which included a lot of vegetables and fruits thus, they were able to take high nutrition content. But, as the lifestyle changes, the diet has also changed. In a competitive world, the diet has also become fast and people don’t have time to cook meals. So, people start preferring to eat fast-foods which have low nutritious value. Low nutritious value diet is responsible for various diseases like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. This problem is very common in urban societies. According to the study of NHFS, obesity cases are increasing with the higher rate in India in past years. BMI (Body Mass Index) can be used to measure unhealthy lifestyle.
  2. Lack of Physical Fitness Or Exercise: Another problem in modern lifestyle is lack of physical fitness. Exercise has a direct relation with positive health. Unhealthy diet and lack of physical fitness both together can damage a person’s health. The main reason for lack of physical fitness in modern lifestyle is technology because it leads to increased sedentary lifestyle and more sitting activities. Continuous exercise and a healthy diet both together can increase health.
  3. Lack of Sleep: Sleep influences mental and physical health. Modern lifestyle aspects like TV, computer screens, longer travelling and the blurring of line between personal time and work time are the major reasons for sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation leads to weakening the body immune system and prevents the production of cytokines to fight infection. Lack of sleep also causes obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Minimum seven hours of good sleep is required for a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Substance Abuse: Addiction is an unhealthy lifestyle. Addiction of smoking, alcohol and other carcinogenic substances has a pursuit of pleasure in modern lifestyle. These substances result in various problems like depression, anxiety, asthma, cancer and brain injury. According to a study, 30% of people smoke cigarettes permanently between 18-65 years of age.
  5. Technology Addiction: Technology is the most important part of modern lifestyle. Technology has certain advantages to people and makes things better like fast communication and ease of travelling. Technology in modern lifestyle reduces physical work but also makes it dependent on it. The Internet is a basic requirement for every household nowadays. No doubt, technology provides comfort to us. But the problem arises when it becomes an addiction. Let us know technology’s influence on health:
    • Excessive Use of Cell Phones: Smartphones play a crucial role in modern people’s life. As every coin has two sides, smartphones also have both positive and negative impacts on a person’s life. Constantly looking at smartphones screens may cause health problems like short-sightedness and low concentration.
    • Disturbed Sleep: Poor sleeping habits usually occur due to excessive dependency on gadgets and technology addiction which leads to health problems like lack of concentration and focus.
    • Development in Children: Research shows that poor eyesight and prevention of cognitive growth also occurs due to excessive use of technology. Overuse of technology as part of routine life can lead to neck and back pain.
  6. Sexual Behavior: Sex relation is the necessary part of healthy life and is directly related with mental and physical health. But, most of the societies facing problem of dysfunction of sex relations due to modern lifestyle, which is responsible for various health problems.
  7. Medication Abuse: Various issues related to medication use are self-treatment, sharing medication, medication using without prescription, high dose of drug, unnecessary medications, low attention to contradictory drugs and disregard of harmful effects of drugs. All these problems affect human health in a negative manner.
  8. Recreation: Leisure time is a sub-factor related to lifestyle. Disorganized planning and unhealthy leisure affect the health in a negative manner. Leisure time should be used for enjoyment purposes.
  9. Study: Study is also a factor which may lead to more physical and mental health. For example, Alzheimer’s and Dementia disease chances are lower in educated people.

Health Problems Associated with Modern Living

Modern lifestyle is full of technological gadgets and involvement of technology is everywhere in people’s lifestyles from the workplace to homes. People are living with “sedentary behaviour” which refers to time spent in minimal movement. According to research, various physical and mental health problems are associated with sedentary behaviour. Various health problems associated with modern lifestyle are as follows:

  • Text Neck: Excessive use of handheld devices like tabs, gaming gadgets mobile phones etc. over a sustained period of time cause pain in the neck and repeated stress injury.
  • Bronchial Diseases: Modern lifestyles increase the level of pollution everywhere. Thus, people are breathing unhealthy air which raises chances of bronchial diseases. Smoking also caused the problem of lung and cardiovascular diseases because it contains elements/particles which directly affect the respiratory system. Chances of emphysema is six times more likely to occur in the person who ever smoked as compared to the person who had not smoked.
  • Computer Vision Syndrome: Constantly staring at the computer screen for all day causes CVS (Computer vision syndrome) which includes headache, dry eyes, light sensitivity, blurred vision etc.
  • Hearing Loss: Listening to music is common in modern lifestyle. But listening to music for a long period of time in loud volume can affect ears and may also cause permanent hearing loss.
  • Obesity: In modern lifestyle people usually eat processed and fast foods which are high in fat and have low nutrition value. Unsupervised eating and fast foods are mainly responsible for health problems like obesity.
  • Heart Disease: Consumption of processed and junk foods, smoking and alcohol consumption cause problems like increased level of cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Acidity and Gastrointestinal Issues: Consumption of carbonated and sugary drinks is common nowadays and causes acidity problems. Consumption of junk and packaged foods disrupt the natural flora of the stomach and cause various GIT related issues.
  • Feet Deformities: Wearing footwear which is not friendly with the body is common nowadays because people usually prefer those footwear which are fashioned and may not be comfortable. High heels make the foot in downward position which increases pressure on the bottom plantar of the forefoot that causes deformities like hammer toes, bunions etc.
  • Poshitis (non-medical name): Carrying an oversized weighty handbag on bent elbow creates problems with the shoulder, back, buttock, arm pain and tingling of hands.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Repeated movement of wrist and wrong positioning of the wrists during the use of keyboard or mouse cause CTS (Carpal tunnel syndrome) which is a painful, progressive condition. On progression this condition may affect the whole hand.

The Negative Health Impacts of a 21st Century Lifestyle

Negative impact of 21st century lifestyle on human health is various chronic diseases like COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes, cancer and heart diseases.
DALY (Disability-Adjusted Life Year) is the parameter which is expressed as each year of healthy living lost due to disease and measures the overall disease burden. Increased levels of DALY’s show an unhealthy lifestyle. DALY’s measure the quantity as well as quality of life of a population.

DALY = YLL + YLD

Where, YLL = Years of Life Lost due to premature mortality in the population.

YLD = Years Lost due to Disability for people living with the health condition.

Healthy Behavior Change in Practical Settings

Main principle of implementing healthy behavior changes in practical settings is to remove the obstacles that people face when they try to live a healthy lifestyle. To give an individual a healthy life we need to look at their home life, work life, exercise levels and environmental factors etc.

Behaviors and Social Practice

Behaviors and social factors may be the obstacles to achieving optimal health and the EHR (Electronic Health Record) system does not bring us to look at both of these factors. Example: For an hypertension patient we need to consider the factors like where they live, what they eat during the day and how many hours they spend sitting each day. We also need to look at aspects of their daily lives that prevent them from exercising healthier practices. These factors are equally important than anything else to find the cause of medical conditions of the hypertension patient.

A Positive Conversation

A positive conversation by the doctor with the patient may also change the behavior and encourage the patient to live a healthy lifestyle. Doctors can frame the conversation with patients in a constructive way. Motivational interviews can also change the mindset of people towards their lifestyle and realize how they can live a healthy life. Motivational interviewing involves four stages i.e. support, advice, affirmation and empathetic conversation. A doctor can engage with patients to build rapport, can advise and support patients to make the changes required for a healthy lifestyle.

Behavior Change Conversations

Clinicians and physicians are important to fill the gap between individuals knowing what needs to change and how to implement those lifestyle changes. Physicians can educate the patients about the importance of healthy behavior change. Discussions with individuals about the behavior change can help them to understand healthy lifestyle and to view overall health as a community issue. Training in motivational interviewing can also be used as a tool to make behavior change conversation with patients by the clinicians.

Exercise as Vital Sign

Physical exercise is the vital sign to make a good healthy lifestyle. A systematic method for recording physical activity of patient’s in EHR can be established which will help the clinicians to counsel the patients about their lifestyles.

Healthy Habits

Doctors can determine which changes an individual needs to make in their habits. Then doctors can simplify those changes and guide the patient to achieve the goal of a healthy lifestyle. Individuals itself should also analyze their bad habits and can change them.

Advertising Unhealthy Habits

Advertisement of unhealthy habits on televisions and other social media platforms should alert the public about their wrong habits and encourage them to make the changes in their habits to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Invest in People in Community

For producing good health, the medical community should need to make investment in the personal lives of patients like understanding the communities they live in. Medical communities have the opportunity to help the primary care system, empower the public to restore and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Healthy Lifestyle Measurement And Benefits Of Healthy Lifestyle:

Healthy lifestyle cannot be achieved within a night. To achieve a healthy lifestyle individuals should need to be consistent to follow a good plan based on healthy habits. Healthy lifestyle can achieved by:

  1. Healthy diet: It included vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids etc.
  2. Healthy physical activity level: It could be measured as 30 minutes daily activity of moderate to vigorous level.
  3. Healthy body weight: It can be measured using BMI (Body mass index). Optimum range of BMI is 18.5 to 24.9
  4. Smoking: Smoking is harmful for the body so it should never have been smoked.
  5. Moderate alcohol intake: 5 to 15 grams per day for women and 5 to 30 grams per day for men is measured as a moderate level of alcohol.

Benefits of Healthy lifestyle: –

  • Short term benefits: In short term healthy lifestyle will give more energy and help to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Long term benefits: Healthy lifestyle in long term can add years to the life of an individual and decrease the risk of various diseases like cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and CVS diseases.
  • Other benefits:
  • Physical activity will increase the stamina, reduce fatigue and will gain strength.
  • Healthy lifestyle will make the individual feel better. Thus, the individual will express it on the outside. So this will improve the social relationship.
  • Mental health will improve due to a healthy lifestyle. Thus, individuals will take decisions correctly and will avoid falling into the wrong direction like consumption of toxic substances.
  • Healthy diet will make the body strong and healthy.

Conclusion:

Modern lifestyle has a great involvement of technology which leads to sedentary behavior of people. Technology has a positive impact in individual life like providing comfort, reducing physical activity and making convenience to life.

Various modern lifestyle habits that influence health are diet, BMI, lack of sleep, lack of physical exercise etc. Health problems are also associated with modern lifestyle like cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, gastrointestinal diseases etc.

An optimum balance between lifestyle and health is required. Healthy lifestyle can be achieved using a healthy diet, proper exercise or physical body activity.

Clinicians and physicians also have their role to change the behavior of the public with respect to health.

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