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Disease Causing Health Behaviors

Disease Causing Health Behaviors

Lifestyle diseases have overtaken infections to become the leading causes of death, especially in the United States. These chronic conditions, which include stroke, cancer, heart conditions, and diabetes, are a byproduct of people’s behaviors and lifestyles. Various behaviors, such as tobacco use, sedentary lifestyles, and changing diets, are responsible for the conditions. Studies that have attempted to compare various high-income countries and determine the prevalence of disease-causing behaviors suffered a major drawback; lack of sufficient data on the same (Woolf & Aron, 2013). However, this situation does not undermine the need to collate such data over a number of years to develop reliable statistics.

Reasons for Measuring Health Behaviors

Measurement of health behaviors is important to the process of planning and evaluating programs. While planning programs, the measurements indicating the prevalence of risky behaviors are important in identifying health priorities. In addition, the same rates are useful in comparison to communities’ rates. The collation of measurements over a period of years is instrumental in obtaining reliable data. For instance, the Wisconsin County Health Rankings collates seven years of data for comparison across the state’s ten counties. However, this is not always the case, as data that provides a 95 percent confidence limit with +/-3 is sufficient to determine the actual prevalence of a certain behavior (Mokdad & Remington, 2010). However, the same data cannot provide varying rates over time. Once the data is analyzed, health officials can create programs that address the issues based on priority. The planned programs include goals that are instrumental to the evaluation process. Through evaluation, health officials can determine goals that are already met, sufficient or insufficient strategies, as well as gaps that need to be reviewed.

Methods of Measurement

Various methods can be used to measure behaviors’ prevalence. The methods are chosen based on cost and time. Methods that ensure coverage, achieve sampling, near-accurate measurements, and data processing upon analysis will be used to collect data among adolescents. It is also important to consider the technological effects on the target population to choose efficient methods of data collection. The first method of measurement to be applied to the target population is face-to-face. This method will be appropriate in places where the target population is found in large numbers. It can also be used in health care centers when the targeted population seeks these services. The second method that can be used to obtain these measurements is the Internet. Various platforms are availed through the Internet, facilitating communication and interactions (AHRQ, 2018). The use of social media platforms among adolescents and other youth is widespread. Thus, it is possible to conduct online surveys that will reach out to various individuals somewhat anonymously.

Program Planning

Measurement of health behaviors is critical for program planning. The process of program planning involves various steps, including the creation of a goal, and long-term aims, identifying and ranking the contributing factors, creating an intervention, setting medium and short-term goals, creating a plan for implementation, and planning the evaluation process (CDC, 2013). In order to identify the actual health problem that requires attention requires an assessment of health data obtained from the targeted population. The data enables health officers to assess and identify the community’s needs. Thus, data that can be obtained from the different populations provide an understanding of the health issue, its importance, and the reasons for its existence.

In this case, health behaviors are identified as the main causes of the country’s major causes of death. For instance, in 2009, influenza (H1N1) was found in Mexico. The effects of the illness were seen through deaths after contracting the virus. The World Health Organization declared the disease a global pandemic and ranked it at level 6. Various nations, affected or unaffected, started to carry out surveillance and tracking to determine its causes, extent, and mitigation strategies. The Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan’s main goals included minimizing serious sicknesses, reducing deaths, and disrupting social aspects connected to the disease. To set these goals, the Canadian team had to rapidly carry out a comprehensive data collection exercise to determine the various factors that would affect planning (Bartfay & Bartfay, 2016). This process facilitated setting goals and creating strategies that should achieve the set objectives.

Similarly, measuring health behaviors is critical for finding alternative treatment or managing lifestyle conditions. Failure to measure these behaviors disables the process of planning due to the absence of data that facilitates needs assessment. Just like in the case of Mexico’s H1N1 virus, it would be impossible to formulate any programs that would alleviate the patients’ suffering or deaths. Through these measurements, the formulation of health policies that should be used for better health outcomes is incapacitated. Governments and other health care providers rely on the measurements to improve the care that they offer in health care facilities. Obtaining the measurements is critical to the process of reducing the prevalence of these chronic conditions. Furthermore, the lack of such data in the various health repositories makes the measurement of health behaviors critical.


A HRQ. (2018). Data Sources for Health Care Quality Measures. Retrieved from

Bartfay, w., & Bartfay, E. (2016). Program planning and evaluation in public health. In Public Health in Canada (pp. 469-510). Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing.

CDC. (2013). Program Planning. Retrieved from

Mokdad, A. H., & Remington, P. L. (2010). Measuring Health Behaviors in Populations. Preventive Chronic Disease, 7(4).

Woolf, S. H., & Aron, L. (2013). U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health. National Academies Press. Retrieved from


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Disease Causing Health Behaviors

Case Assignment
According to Mokdad & Remington (2010), “health behaviors are a leading cause of illness and death in the United States” (p. 1). Reflecting on this statement, write a paper (3 pages) discussing the importance of being able to measure health behaviors and describing methods to assess health behaviors in a target population.

Disease Causing Health Behaviors

Disease Causing Health Behaviors

The following items in particular will be assessed:

  1. Discuss reasons for measuring health behaviors.
  2. Identify at least two methods to assess/measure smoking behaviors among adolescents in your community.
  3. In your opinion, do you agree or disagree that measurement of health behavior is useful for program planning. Defend your position by providing empirical evidence.


Mokdad, A.H. & Remington, P.L. (2010 July). Measuring health behaviors in populations. Preventing Chronic Disease, 7(4), A75. Retrieved from

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