Health Issue in Nursing

The article under analysis is “Hospitals battle “deep-fried hypocrisy”, push junk food out the door” written by Elizabeth Payne for Ottawa Citizen. Hospitals in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario have passed legislations to promote healthy diet choices and get rid of junk food sold in the hospital cafeteria. Due to this, such products as deep-fryers, super-seized sugary drinks and junk food containing Sodium will be prohibited in the cafeterias. Instead of all this, the menu will offer more fruits, whole grains and food with low fat, sugar and addictives. The new policy is driven by the need to set hospitals as better role models regarding healthy nutrition. However, the program has not been implemented yet, as no agreement has been reached so far between hospitals and cafeteria owners. Several cafeteria owners, including Tim Horton’s, Second Cup, and Starbucks will be affected by the changes in nutrition policy. Despite the arguments of cafeteria owners that offering the changes with increase the cost of foods and beverages, hospitals have remained adamant (Payne, 2015). Obviously, hospital cafeterias need to take unhealthy foods with high content of sugar, fat and addictives off the menu and introduce healthy food to create a positive image of hospitals as a health role model.

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Poor diet choices are the leading cause of lifestyle-related disorders such as obesity, cancer, neurological problems, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, which yearly kill more people than road accidents. Moreover, a research conducted by The Indian Journal of Medical Research highlights that cardiovascular diseases contribute to 30% of the deaths globally. Processed food contains extremely high amounts of sugar, sodium, fat, caffeine and chemical addictives, and consuming such food increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases considerably. However, over 80% of the chronic diseases can be prevented by making lifestyle changes (Pappachan, 2011). If to consider this, the recent increase in chronic illnesses globally had necessitated dietary changes and creation of policies that make sure food in public places meets the required nutritional standards. Within this strategy, health and social care institutions must lead health and nutrition sensitization campaigns, developing and implementing policies for protecting the public from poor nutrition and control their lifestyle conditions.


Healthcare policies must be designed to address lifestyle-related diseases and the resulting mortality increase. The emerging threats caused by poor nutrition and unhealthy lifestyle can be prevented and controlled by ensuring that the new policies enforce strict health standards (Ford, Croft, Posner, Goodman, & Giles, 2013).The Center for Diseases and Control notes that 75% of deaths and health care budget are directly related to unhealthy lifestyle. Apart, from this, these conditions have created other burdens such as poverty and disabilities. For instance, Ford et al. (2013) conclude that if the multiple chronic conditions continue to increase combined with the aging population, the health resources will be strained. Strained health resources will further affect the quality of health and, as a result, the quality of life. This proves the existence of a direct link between lifestyle diseases and lifestyle choices, such as diet and physical exercise. It should also be mentioned that poor diet is the leading cause of lifestyle conditions, such as heart diseases and obesity, which is often due to the fact that the public has little knowledge of the content of the food they consume. Therefore, health policies must be put in place to protect the society from food with a negative impact on health.

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Health policies must be implemented to guard public health interests due to the economic revenue losses associated with lifestyle diseases and conditions. A study by Gallup found that lifestyle diseases costed the American economy more than $153 billion in last revenue. The chronic diseases, mainly cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and hypertension cause an estimated loss of 500 million work days annually (Witters, & Agrawal, 2011). Furthermore, the research calculations do not include the poor productivity and the cost of part-time work. Overall, Gallup estimates that chronic lifestyle-related diseases cost the American economy more than $1 trillion annually. The study also highlights that 86% of American full-time workers have a weight above the recommended level, and the same number of the workers were also found to have one or more lifestyle-related diseases. This means that less than 14% of the United States full-time workers are healthy and have optimum production levels, as compared to the United Kingdom, where there are 20% healthy full-time workers with acceptable weights (Witters, & Agrawal, 2011). The high number of United States citizens with less than ideal weight drains productivity of the United States businesses, which are expected to suffer the largest losses due to unhealthy workers. In contrast, a different study by Gallup found that the United Kingdom lost just over 21 billion pounds due to work absenteeism related to chronic diseases (Witters, & Agrawal, 2011). The economic losses related to low productivity and missing working days proves that the public has no ability to manage their health properly. This is why, the government and health institutions must step up to set policies that protect public health.

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Healthcare reform and control policies are of utmost importance to ease the personal and social burden of both every American and the nursing workforce. Estimated 137 million American adults have a problematic lifestyle condition. Over 86% of healthcare budget in 2010 was spent on chronic diseases management. Heart diseases, diabetes and cancer treatment costed Americans over $800 billion. Overall, Americans spent over $2 trillion on the management of chronic and lifestyle-related diseases that can be easily prevented (Center for Diseases and Control). Moreover, the United States currently faces a shortage of 500,000 nurses, and the shortage will rise to over 1 million by 2020. The rise of chronic conditions is also expected to rise sharply as Americans age, with 137 million Americans estimated to be having chronic conditions. At the same time, the available number of nurses and other health professionals is insufficient to cover the rising demand for health services.


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