With the prevalence of childhood asthma, education on the prevention and management of asthma must be taught to reduce the potential of disease development or disease progression. Within my community, in South Tyler, there are several medical clinics and urgent cares, while in North Tyler, they are few and far between. There is also a sizeable non-English speaking community here, with poverty on the rise. Considerations must be made regarding the knowledge deficit of resources for the disease, the lack of resources in North Tyler, and the education level of the caregivers of these children.
There is a genetic predisposition for asthma. According to research produced by the Global Allergy and Airways Platform, if one parent has asthma, the child is 25% more likely to develop asthma as well, and if both parents have asthma, then the chance rises to 50% (Global Allergy and Airways Patient Platform, n.d.). Knowing these odds, people must avoid any environmental risks that can cause asthma to develop or exacerbate, such as cigarette smoking, pollen, mold, and poor ventilation in homes. Quality of air in schools can cause the development or exacerbation of asthma, such as materials from art class, the kitchen, woodworking, perfumes or other scented items, and exhaust fumes from buses, cars, and delivery vehicles (Stanhope, 2020).
With my community being in East Texas, several different towns have farms and cities that have factories and an abundance of vehicles. Many other factors can contribute to asthma. There is also a significant number of individuals who smoke cigarettes. Secondhand smoke is a leading factor in asthma development and exacerbation. Studies have found that a large part of emergency room visits and hospitalizations related to asthma in children that children have secondhand smoke exposure (SHSe) (Merianos, 2018). A behavior change that needs to occur is smoking cessation in families, especially those with asthmatic children. Education and resources should be available to help aid with quitting. Free clinics and community outreach meetings can be conducted to provide education and resources to help with smoking cessation and support groups within the community.
Available resources are The Texas Department of State Health Services (Texas Department of State Health Services, n.d.) and The Texas Children’s Health Plan Asthma Care Toolkit (Texas Children’s Health Plan, n.d.). These two resources provide valuable information regarding childhood asthma, risk factors, symptom management, and environmental factors. The Asthma Care Toolkit contains action plans, triggers to avoid, how to use different medications, and cleaning tips at home. Both websites are available in English and Spanish, so more people can understand the education provided. Communities should also offer free clinics in multiple parts of the county to provide screenings and education on medication management and triggers to avoid. This can be an asset to many people, especially those less fortunate, to have readily available healthcare and aid with asthma prevention. The more people are educated, the better the outcome will be.
Global Allergy and Airways Patient Platform. (n.d.). Does Asthma Run in the Family? Retrieved from Global Allergy and Airways Patient Platform: https://gaapp.org/is-asthma-genetic/#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20if%20one%20parent,close%20relative%20with%20the%20condition.
Merianos, A. J.-G. (2018). Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Pediatric Healthcare Visits and Hospitalizations. American journal of preventive medicine, 53(4), 441-448.
Stanhope, M. a. (2020). Public Health Nursing: Population-Centered Health Care in the Community. St. Louis: Elsevier.
Texas Children’s Health Plan. (n.d.). Asthma Care Toolkit. Retrieved from Texas Children’s Health Plan: https://texaschildrenshealthplan.org/for-providers/provider-resources/asthma-resources-toolkit
Texas Department of State Health Services. (n.d.). Asthma. Retrieved from Texas Department of State Health Services: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/asthma
To combat obesity and diabetes in Huntsville, AL, several resources are going to be needed. The rate of Alabama residents was that are without health insurance was at 17.5 percent at last count in 2019, which was compared to 13.6 percent nationwide (Alabama Public Health, 2022). Without health insurance, it can be difficult to access health education, medications, and visits with a primary care physician. Currently, there is an initiative in Huntsville called “Healthy Huntsville” that offers nutrition education, walking events, and free exercise classes in a local park. However, these exercise classes are only offered on Saturdays for the months of May and June (City of Huntsville, 2022). In order to truly make a difference, I think there will need to be a push for more free exercise programs, additional nutritional guidance, and free classes regarding weight and/or diabetes management.
As with most of the Southeastern United States, Alabama is known for unhealthy foods. Our entire culture in Alabama revolves around football Sundays full of unhealthy snacks. If you plan a funeral in Alabama, one of the first questions that tends to come up is “what is everyone bringing to eat for the reception?”. If one were to drive through Huntsville, they would see fast food restaurants on every single corner. In order to change the diabetes and obesity rates, there is going to have to put work put in to change the cultural mindset in Alabama regarding food. I do think that this could prove to be difficult, as the aged 40-50 population that my project is targeting has primarily been raised with these habits; I anticipate that these habits will be hard to break.
In addition to changing the mindset around food from a cultural standpoint, it also needs to change in the home setting. According to an article by Harvard University (n.d.), while obesity does have genetic components, genetic obesity can be counteracted by making nutritious food choices and by exercising regularly. Excessive abdominal fat has a direct impact on type 2 diabetes diagnosis, with the prevalence of diabetes increasing linearly with a diagnosis of obesity (Klein et al., 2022). Children with obese parents have an increased risk of obesity themselves due to modeling unhealthy habits (Mayo Clinic, n.d.). By providing education to lower the adult obesity rates, the goal is to also lower the rate of diabetes diagnoses and childhood obesity.
In a study published in Nutrients journal (2022), researchers found that offering therapeutic patient education interventions for patients with both obesity and diabetes improved health outcomes. These interventions included telehealth education, the use of interactive presentations, log books, and round table discussions between healthcare providers and study participants. These interventions including teaching of self-care techniques, nutritional guidance, and implementation of lifestyle changes. I believe an approach similar to this one could produce excellent results in my community. Everyone is so busy these days between work, children, school, etc., and I think telehealth education could prove beneficial. Regardless of whether interventions are provided via telehealth or in person, they can lead to a significant improvement in patient health and quality of life.
Alabama Public Health (2022). Health Rankings.
City of Huntsville (2022). Healthy Huntsville.
Correia, J.C., Waqas, A., Huat, T.S., Gariani, K., Jornayvaz, F.R.,Golay, A., & Pataky, Z. (2022).
Effectiveness of Therapeutic Patient Education Interventions in Obesity and Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients 2022, 14, 3807. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu1418380Links to an external site.
Harvard University (n.d.). Genes are Not Destiny.
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/genes-and-obesity/#:~:text=Most%20people%20probably%20have%20some,lifestyle%2C%20or%20other%20environmental%20factorsLinks to an external site..
Klein, S., Gastaldelli, A., Yki-Järvinen, H., & Scherer, P. E. (2022).
Why does obesity cause diabetes?. Cell metabolism, 34(1), 11–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2021.12.012Links to an external site.
Mayo Clinic (n.d.). Childhood obesity.