This report will highlight an urban health issue in London borough of Camden, Camden town. The main health issue that will be considered is coronary heart disease.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) was chosen because of the high number of deaths that result from the disease in Camden. Almost 50% of these deaths result from coronary heart disease (South East Public Health Observatory, 2013). The UK government has spent considerable sums of money in prevention, detection and treatment of coronary heart disease (Liu, Maniadakis, Gray & Rayner, 2002). Camden town area was chosen because it lies within the boundaries of London Strategic Clinical Network. Strategic clinical networks work towards improving the quality and access to care for populations both now and going into the future (NHC, 2014).
Demographic information of Camden
Camden is a London borough that has a land size of almost 22 square kilometres. Camden is home to slightly over 198,000 people the majority (52%), female and 48% male. This translates to almost 104.5 people per hectare making Camden be the 7th most populated borough in London. The targeted population is aged 25 to 40 years. This is a relatively young population thereby making it easy to prevent ill health amongst this aged group. According to the recent population census, life expectancy at birth for men is 79.3 years. This is higher than the life expectancy for England which is 78.9 years. For women, life expectancy is 85 years. This is higher than the life expectancy for England which is 82.9 years and for London which is 83.6 years. In Primrose Hill, the male life expectancy is 75 years while the female life expectancy is 81 years. The high and improving life expectancy for both men and women in Camden show that there is an improvement in health services in Camden. The main causes of death in Camden are coronary heart disease, liver disease, lung cancer and mental health disorders.
Data on prevalence
Coronary heart disease
Source: Quality and Outcomes Framework and Eastern Region Public Health Observatory prevalence modelling
There are many factors that affect the health of individuals and communities in Camden town. One of the factors is housing. The availability of quality housing affects the physical and psychological wellbeing of individuals. Camden town is a region that has been characterised by high house prices and private rents. The implication of this is that residents have found it difficult to find quality houses. This has forced many people to live in overcrowded neighbourhoods where they cannot find amenities like wellness and fitness centres, walkways, parks among other social amenities that can help improve their quality of life.
Poverty is also another factor that has been a determinant of health outcomes among the Camden town population. High poverty levels are directly related to adverse health problems including lower life expectancy and chronic illness and unhealthy lifestyles like drug abuse, smoking and obesity. Out of the 33 ranked boroughs in London, Camden is ranked as the 15th most deprived borough (Callaghan & Sayer, 2014). Within Camden town itself, there are areas that lie within the 10% most deprived regions in England. These poverty levels reduce health outcomes because they do not allow individuals and families to engage in positive activities that can improve their health outcomes. For example, individuals and families cannot engage in wellness and fitness activities, they cannot consume the right proportion of foods and cannot be in the best state of mind to help eliminate coronary heart disease among this population (Callaghan & Sayer, 2014). In addition, due t poverty, many individuals and families find themselves consuming diets that are high in fat. This is also attributed to the high number of fast food outlets that are located in Camden. These outlets increase the consumption of junk food which coupled with the low rates of physical activity among the population increase the rates of obesity.
Overall, the number of smokers has declined in Camden town. Smoking affects all social groups but is more prevalent among the low-income segment of the social group. These people may find it very difficult to quit smoking and may therefore need psychological support in order to stop the habits. The prevalence of smoking among the population most affected by coronary heart disease has made it very difficult for the disease to be eliminated in Camden town. The prevalence and mortality rates of coronary heart disease increase with an increase in smoking rates among the population. A significant proportion of Camden town’s population consumes alcohol. The prevalence of alcohol consumption among the population especially among the males makes people to be admitted to hospital due to alcohol related complications. Alcohol consumption also leads to other social disorders like violence and crime (Marmot, 2001).
The other determinant of health outcomes in Camden town is physical activity. Approximately only 25% of Camden town’s population engages in moderate physical activities and active recreation. Moderate activity and recreation involves 30 or so minutes to 3 or more days a week of physical activity. Almost 30% of the adult population does not engage in physical and recreational activities. Levels of activity among the low income earners, those with disabilities and among the older people in Camden town are lower than the general population. There are different barriers to engagement in physical activity including lack of motivation, work commitments and financial constrains (Chandola et al, 2008). Approximately only 12% of the children are meeting doctors’ recommendation on physical activity (Callaghan & Sayer, 2014).
From the demographic data and data on prevalence of coronary heart disease in Camden town, it is important to note that the aging population will increase the number of old people within the population. The implication of this is that there will be a growing number of people living with conditions that may require care. There is therefore need for the healthcare services to identify these needs and provide long term solutions to the needs.
From the observations made, the housing problem in Camden is mainly caused by poverty that makes many Camden town citizens not able to afford quality and decent housing. The implication of this is that many people reside in crowded places that do not have all the basic amenities (Roux et al., 2001). In addition, the crowding makes the Camden town citizens not to breathe very fresh air thereby increasing the prevalence of coronary heart disease within the population (Hoffman et al., 2006).
There is need for the government and other players to focus on creating more employment opportunities so that the living standards of the population can be improved. In addition, more quality housing that is easily affordable to most members of this population should be provided. This will reduce the instances of overcrowding amongst the citizens. Furthermore, the impacts of the welfare reform should be evaluated. The monitory should focus mainly on the vulnerable groups so that more advice and support can be provided to the populations that are most affected by the coronary heart disease.
The observations have also shown that many people in Camden town do not engage in physical activity. This has increased the prevalence of obesity and coronary heart disease among other diseases (Okura, Nakata & Tanaka, 2003). The prevalence is compounded further by the availability of fast food outlets that sell junk food to the citizens. These are foods that are rich in fat and very low in fibre. This has resulted to a very unhealthy population (LaPier, Cleary & Kidd, 2009).
It is therefore important that members of the Camden town population are supported to healthy lifestyles to help improve the quality of health for the population. Apart from these healthy outcomes, the programmes and policies should focus on other areas including: reducing secondary exposure to tobacco smoke, educating young people to help increase the tobacco smoking age, regulating and developing laws on display and sale of tobacco products, ensuring that the harms related to consumption of alcohol are reduced, instituting policies that increase average alcohol consumption age and promote general wellbeing of the members of the population (Marmot, 2001).
In conclusion, this report has highlighted an urban health issue in London borough of Camden, Camden town. The main health issue that considered is coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease was chosen because of its prevalence and the number of deaths it has caused in Camden and London. There are different factors that contribute to the high prevalence of coronary heart disease in Camden town. Some of these factors include poverty, lifestyle and tobacco and alcohol consumption. It is important for the government and other players to look at these factors so that coronary heart disease is reduced if not eliminated in Camden town and other areas in London and beyond. The focus should be on encouraging physical activity to help reduce prevalence of diabetes. Physical activity will also ensure that members of the Camden town population do not engage in other activities like alcohol consumption and smoking which can have a negative effect on their health. These activities and programs will help improve the wellbeing and general health of the Camden population.
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