Weight-related problems have become acute in the modern world; due to a variety of reasons, a large number of people are suffering from bulimia, anorexia, and other eating disorders. As for obesity and extra weight, the major reason for it is the energy imbalance by which the calorie intake exceeds the needs of the body. Today, many US people have a sedentary lifestyle and lack physical exercise. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the statistics on food disorders in the United States, compare it with the situation in Puerto Rico, and suggest measures to tackle the problem.
Eating disorders pose a serious threat to the population of the United States and Puerto Rico. It is estimated that in the US, over 30 million people have had an eating disorder in a particular period of their life (Caceres, 2020). Weight-related problems are thought to develop mainly in women but the fact that 10 million men in the United States struggle with eating disorders proves the opposite (Caceres, 2020). As for Puerto Rico, over 11 million of the inhabitants of the island have food-related ailments (Caceres, 2020). Hence, it might be stated that the nutritional health of many people in the USA and Puerto Rico needs to be improved.
There are several eating disorders that harm public health with anorexia nervosa being one of them. The prevalence of anorexia is partly due to thinness becoming a beauty standard and the promotion of images of skinny models by media. However, 50-80 percent of anorexia risk is genetic (Caceres, 2020). According to the National Eating Disorders Association reports, in the United States, 0.9 percent of men and 0.3 percent of women develop anorexia in their lifetime (“Adult Obesity Facts,” 2020). The statistics are the same for Puerto Rico (“Adult Obesity Facts,” 2020). The indicators are low but the complicating factor is that 50 percent of anorexia patients have mental problems and mood disorders like depression (Caceres, 2020). Therefore, measures should be taken to decrease the number of people suffering from the disease described.
Another dangerous eating disorder is bulimia nervosa which is characterized by a person’s eating large amounts of food and then vomiting. The statistics for the USA show that 0.5 percent of men and 1.5 percent of women develop bulimia (Galvin, 2020). In the majority of cases, the risk for having bulimia is defined by genes just like the chances for developing anorexia (Caceres, 2020). Speaking about Puerto Rico, the numbers of people suffering from bulimia are also low and do not exceed 2 percent for both men and women (“Adult Obesity Facts,” 2020).
As for obesity and overweight, they are the most prevalent eating disorders both in the United States and in Puerto Rico. Around 40 percent of Americans aged 20 or older have a body mass index of 30 or higher (“Adult Obesity Facts,” 2020). In Puerto Rico, the percentage makes 30.7 and thus, is significantly lower than in the United States (“Adult Obesity Facts,” 2020). However, the indicators for both the island and the states arouse concerns.
The measures that I can take as a healthcare professional include giving lectures on healthy eating, obesity, anorexia, and bulimia, organizing weighing days, and instructing people on how important nutritional health is. Cooperating with a gym to create weight-loss programs and attracting participants might also contribute to solving the problem. In my opinion, particular attention should be paid to the instruction of children because not all families eat healthily.
In conclusion, it is significant to press the point that eating disorders are a great threat to public health. In fact, anorexia and bulimia are often accompanied by mood disorders and mental problems. Hence, although the numbers of people suffering from these diseases are low for both Puerto Rico and the US, the problem should be eliminated. As for obesity, in the United States, the number of overweight and obese people is significantly higher than in Puerto Rico; nevertheless, appropriate measures should be taken both on the island and in the states.
Adult obesity facts. (2020).
Caceres, V. (2020). Eating disorder statistics.
Galvin, G. (2020). The U.S. obesity rate tops 40%.
The Great Depression And The United States’ Future
Today the United States of America is on the eve of the presidential elections, and it is the right time to assess what the country was in in the last few years. It has been and still is a hard time for the economy, as it is wrecked by the Great Depression. We can observe it in all areas: high rate of unemployment, farmers are in crisis, industrial production at a low ebb, ordinary people feel lost and insecure about their future. In this situation, it appears to be essential to present two competing visions on the United States’ future: the Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover and the Democratic challenger Franklin D. Roosevelt. In this article, two different attitudes concerning the government’s role and responsibilities in addressing this devastating economic depression will be presented.
Outlook and Attitude
The stock market crash marked the beginning of the Great Depression. However, it is only one reason among many that caused the economic failure. Other factors include Hawley-Smoot Tariff, industrial overproduction, unsettled banking system, and continuing collapse in farm prices. Hawley Smoot Tariff (raised tariffs to 60 percent), which was introduced in 1930, resulted in high rates on US-made goods and a decline in international trade.
When Herbert Hoover took office in 1929, he stated that a large and activist federal government is a danger to America’s prosperity. He demonstrated his belief in an individual’s central position and his essential role in the country’s future. Moreover, he judged large corporations that often act in their selfish interests. His philosophical view on limited government intervention reflected his initial rejection to support banks and businesses and called for their volunteerism. The same applied to farmers, as Hoover rejected the idea of federal government subsidies to farmers who suffer from overproduction.
Hoover sees the current economic situation as a period of shocks. In his speech for Republican National Convention (August 11, 1932), he mentions that the last three years have been a time of suffering and hardship for the United States. He states that the crisis is the normal penalty for optimism from overproduction, advances in science, and progress, preceding economic depression. Moreover, he explains that the USA is a part of the world economy that experiences hard times, blaming European countries, as they could not sustain the difficulties of the economic crisis. The Democratic challenger, Franklin D. Roosevelt, offers the exact opposite idea to Hoover’s – the central government could and, in some cases, should vastly intervene in the country’s economy. This philosophy is reflected in the measures he proposes: bank deposit insurance, minimum wage, unemployment compensation, subsidies for farmers, and public housing. Besides, he supports the idea of business and stock market regulations.
Roosevelt sees the current economic situation as the crash mentioning it in his speech addressing accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago (July 02, 1932). He blames the incumbent government for strategic mistakes they have made. They could not see tight connections between industry, agriculture, and small investors and depositors. The failure to take into account this relationship led to an economic issue that united all segments of the population and all spheres.
Philosophy and Audience
The Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover shares the philosophy of limited governmental intervention. He believes that freedom for the individual, equality of opportunity, absence of direct relief to citizens, volunteerism from cooperative communities, and ordered liberty are the basis of the United States of America. His central idea concerning the federal, state, and local governments is the self-restriction of the federal government. Hoover finds it essential, as it allows state and local governments to strengthen their roles in solving emerging problems. These ideas Hoover presented in a radio address on Lincoln’s birthday (February 12, 1931). Besides, it should be said that Hoover is seeking approval from a conservative audience by stating that passing the crisis should take place with the same leadership of the country.
The Democratic challenger Franklin Roosevelt offers a radically different view on the role of government. He believes in an activist position of the Federal government to provide help for citizens when needed. Federal aid is especially important for people in need. In his speech to address accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago (July 02, 1932), he mentions that the Federal Government is responsible for leadership and global help. However, local authorities are fully responsible for the relief and support of people. Roosevelt directs his campaign toward people who do not believe in the incumbent Hoover and seek global economic and social changes.
Hoover offers to approach economic depression through a community-based approach. In his Presidential Nomination Address (August 11, 1932), he encourages businesses to refuse cutting production or to lay off workers. Besides, Hoover asks Congress to increase funding on works projects and for banks. Furthermore, he suggests farmers cooperate and raise prices voluntarily. It is essential to mention that Hoover is against spending a large amount of federal money, as it increases the public debt. Overall, he widely encourages voluntarism as a measure to facilitate the economic and social crisis.
In a series of programs, called “The New Deal,” Franklin Roosevelt offers a fundamentally different strategy for overcoming the crisis. It is based on the Federal Government’s authority and power that aim at stabilizing the economic situation. For instance, Roosevelt proposes to create a safety net for vulnerable populations: older adults, unemployed, and disabled. Moreover, he offers to establish a different kind of agencies in order to provide governmental aid and jobs. His general idea is a government-regulated economy that will balance conflicting interests and help to overcome crises.
Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the speech accepting the Democratic nomination for the Presidency, and he immediately gave thousands of Americans hope for soon relief. His tone was straightforward, honest, and sincere as he spoke out what many ordinary people have had in mind for an extended period. We all feel it the same way: it is an emergency. It is finally the time when we should unite and forget about individualism. It is the time when we need and should rely on governmental help and support. And yet, it is the time to correct the past mistakes made during Hoover’s Presidency. “The New Deal” program appears to be clear and reasonable, as it offers the new philosophy of a government-regulated economy with a number of measures that could have supported different segments of the population and combated unemployment. For the three years, the situation has worsened significantly, and all people feel it, as it touched each of us. If the old measure does not work, we should adopt a new one.
Impact Of COVID-19 On Gini Index In BRICS Countries
COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most impactful events of the first quarter of the twenty-first century that has an influence on almost every aspect of human lives. The global economy suffered severely from the coronavirus outbreak, as the global trade was affected considerably. According to Jones, Palumbo, and Brown (2020), Dow Jones fell by 18.5%, while the FTSE100 index lost 24.5% between January and May 2020. Many people became unemployed and faced emerging poverty. In the US, more than 30 million people filed for unemployment benefits between the middle of March and the end of April (Jones, Palumbo, and Brown, 2020). These changes are likely to affect wealth distribution in all countries. The present paper offers the analysis of the Gini Index will evolve in BRICS countries during the next three years.
BRICS is an acronym for the association between five countries, which are Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Even though these five countries are referred to as developing, they are expected to become leading suppliers of manufactured goods, services, and raw materials in the world (Majaski, 2020). Even though these countries are often referred to as a group, they have not established coherent trade unions (Majaski, 2020). The critique of the organization is that it ignores the finite nature of natural resources, such as fossil fuels, uranium, and metals (Majaski, 2020). However, the economies of the countries continue to grow, and, in 2014, 30% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) was accounted for BRICS countries (Majaski, 2020). GDP based on purchasing power parity change is demonstrated in Figure 1. The distribution of wealth in these countries has changed considerably since the beginning of the twenty-first century. The present paper will analyze only Brazil and Russia as examples of BRICS countries.
The Gini index is a statistic of wealth distribution that is often utilized to measure economic inequality. The ratio varies from zero to one, where zero is perfect equality (everyone has the same income level), and one is perfect inequality (all the money belongs to one person) (Chapellow, 2020). In other words, the lower the Gini coefficient, the more equal the distribution of wealth. The coefficient is often presented graphically using the Lorenz Curve, which shows the income distribution “by plotting the population percentile by income on the horizontal axis and cumulative income on the vertical axis” (Chapellow, 2020, para. 9). The Gini coefficient is the area between the line of equality and the Lorenz curve multiplied by 2 (Chapellow, 2020). Currently, the Gini Index in different countries varies between 30% and 60%, with the highest index in South Africa and Brazil (Chapellow, 2020). While the metric is useful for analyzing a country’s economic well-being, it relies heavily on accurate measures of GDP and per capita income levels. This method does not take into consideration shadow markets, which are common in developing countries, including BRICS.
Gini Index in Russia
During the past three decades, Russia has been an inconsistent performer in terms of the Gini Index. The coefficient was as high as 48.4% in 1993 and as low as 36.8% in 2016 (World Bank, 2020). The Russian Federation had the lowest Gini Index value among all the BRICS countries since 2015 (see Figure 2). Such a tendency usually signals that the country’s government could employ efficient strategies to improve wealth distribution in the country. However, this may not be the case with Russia, as the index may demonstrate the changes in the shadow economy of the country. According to Cordell (2019), the size of the shadow economy in the Russian Federation has decreased drastically during the last decade, which implies that the Gini Index is becoming more accurate, as it measures the official economy.
COVID-19 pandemic is associated with one of the most impactful financial crises in history. The influence of economic crises on wealth inequality is a well-studied phenomenon discussed by many scholars and professionals. According to Beaten (2016), pre-crisis periods are usually associated with a rise in income inequality, whthe post-crisis periods usually decrease income inequality. This effect is related to the fact that the richest 10% are stricken by the crises the most and lose much of their wealth (Beaten, 2016). At the same time, governments around the world usually try to decrease the gap between the rich and poor to stabilize the economy (Beaten, 2016). Moreover, the pandemic hit the shadow economy the most, as the informal market lost almost 60% of its value (International Labor Organization, 2020). Such a tendency is expected to encourage people to come out of the shadow market to be more protected.
Considering the changes mentioned above, the Gini Index in Russia is expected to drop considerably. During the previous financial crisis of 2008, the coefficient fell from 42.3% in 2007 to 39.5% in 2010, which is almost a 3-point improvement (World Bank, 2020). Considering the fact the financial crisis brought by the pandemic is comparable in size to the crisis of 2008, the Gini Index is expected to drop from the current 37.5% to 34%-35% during three years after the outbreak (World Bank, 2020). However, the index may fall even lower due to the Russia-Saudi Arabia oil price war, which may decrease the wealth of the richest in Russia even further.
Gini Index in Brazil
Brazil has had the Seco had nd-highest Gini index among the BRICS countries since 1996. In 2018, the coefficient was 53.9%, which is almost 10% lower than in 1989. As seen in Figure 2, Brazil’s Gini index has been going down slowly at the beginning of the 1990s. However, while the dynamic is favorable, Brazil is still an extremely unequal country in terms of wealth distribution. According to Oxfam International (no date), the six richest men in Brazil are as wealthy as the poorest 50% of the population combined. The country’s richest 5% earn as much as the other 95% (Oxfam International, no date). The data demonstrates that the country needs to address some of the structural causes of inequality.
As mentioned by Beaten (2016), economic crises can be a reason for the government’s interventions to redistribute wealth inside the country. However, this was not the case in Brazil in 2008, when the Gini Index remained virtually unchanged (World Bank, 2020). This implies that the government’s policy is designed to support the elite. Therefore, the COVID-19 pandemic is not expected to have any significant effect on the Gini Index in Brazil. Slight changes towards better wealth distribution can emerge; however, the coefficient is not likely to drop 52 during the next two years.
Gini Index is a statistic utilized to measure wealth distribution. While the method is widely used, it has several drawbacks that need to be regarded when discussing income equality. COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have an indirect effect on Gini coefficient in all countries, including BRICS members. The presented analysis, however, demonstrates that the effect of the pandemic will vary among countries. In general, as COVID-19 will cause a financial crisis, the Gini Index is expected to go down in most countries.
- Baeten, L. (2016) The effects of financial crises on income inequality: Evidence in the long run of history. Web.
- Chapellow, J. (2020) What is the Gini Index? Web.
- Cordell, J. (2019) ‘How big is Russia’s shadow economy and why does it matter?’ The Moscow Times. Web.
- International Labor Organization (2020) ILO: As job losses escalate, nearly hal he of the global workforce at risk of losing livelihoods. Web.
- Jones, L., Palumbo, D., and Brown, D. (2020) ‘Coronavirus: A visual guide to the economic impact’, BBC News. Web.
- Majaski, C. (2020) Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC). Web.
- Oxfam International (no date) Brazil: Extreme inequality in numbers. Web.
- World Bank (2020) GINI index (World Bank estimate) – Brazil, China, India, Russian Federation, South Africa. Web.