2022 Public Health Trends You Should Know About
Public Health Trends You Need to Know
Unless you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, you’ll be aware that some pretty significant things have happened over the past 1-2 years. From political upheaval to further clarity on the climate crisis to a range of TikTok videos that took the world by storm, plenty has happened.
One particularly important category of trends includes those encased within the realm of public health. Some of the trends below make sense considering the subjects that have saturated the headlines during our recent history, but some are a bit more covert.
It’s important to be aware of large-scale shifts that are happening across the health landscape because, unlike the movements that happen within some industries, we’re all affected by things that affect public health. The following four trends are ones you may want to keep an eye on.
Epidemiology and Pandemic Prevention Will Now Play a Bigger Part of the Public Health Conversation
This shouldn’t come as a shock. Considering the world is just now beginning to right itself and tick more normally after multiple years of being largely shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that conscious efforts to avoid future breakouts of this scale (and to be better prepared for when they inevitably do) will probably become permanent parts of public health strategy.
Public health professionals wear a lot of hats. Proactively preparing the world at large, and the infrastructures that maintain some semblance of normalcy, for the next widespread virus will likely become more forefront for the foreseeable for many of them. The world has learned the hard way that it wasn’t ready for something like COVID-19.
As biotech and biological warfare loom as sinister possibilities in the hazy future, and the possibility of other highly volatile viruses become something we will always need to be aware of in the future, considerations for pandemic-level precautions and protocol will seep into every corner of society.
They will begin to inform the way buildings are built, the way processes play out, and the way we conduct ourselves in the realms of education, manufacturing, healthcare provision, employment, and virtually every other sector.
Obesity is Getting Younger
There has never been a time in history when children and teenagers were more prone to struggling with a variety of adverse health conditions than now. One of the most serious of these is obesity and will probably remain so for a while.
Obesity in children and young people can cause serious healthcare complications because it can cause conditions like heart disease and diabetes that require significant resources and support.
When these conditions are initiated in individuals when they are in their 20’s and 30’s rather than their 50’s or 60’s, the total resource spend per capita skyrockets because people have to treat those conditions for sometimes twice as long as the average would have been in the past. This is a serious public health trend that is liable to strain provision capabilities incalculably if it is not reversed.
The Population is Getting Older
Social Security’s death throes are haunting the politicians and few conscientious citizens that are paying attention and trying to solve this problem. What’s wrong, you ask? We’re staying alive longer. We (as a collective) are using up more resources than we ever have before purely because we’re lasting more years.
While a realistic solution isn’t to hope that trend will reverse, lofty aims to improve broadstroke health conditions to the point that we can balance our longer lives with healthier (and medical bill-less) years will take incredibly large shifts. This will necessitate widespread awareness, changes to lifetimes of formed habit and assumption, intentionality, better access to quality food, and societal-level shifts. It won’t happen overnight.
Mental Health Concerns are Larger than Ever
The last two years have not been kind to our mental health. From the effects of lockdowns and social isolation to political and communal upheaval to increasing polarization, stress, and disinformation, mental health is currently a primary concern for public health officials. A drastic shortage of appropriate and accessible resources leaves the most vulnerable devoid of mental health care.
Mental health awareness is on the rise, but follow-through in the forms of seeking support or resources to combat mental strain or possible mental illness remains insufficient for large portions of the population.
Of course, even with all this doom and gloom, there are incredible wins happening in the midst of the rather dismal current state of public health. Medical technology is advancing more quickly than ever before, allowing breakthroughs to move from concept to reality at rapid speeds.
Healthcare improvements in many places around the world are making positive contributions toward lowering infant mortality, eradicating lethal diseases, and ending preventable health conditions in impoverished areas. Even in the midst of sobering realities, there is always good news. And step by step, we’ll move past these current challenges as well.