How Scholars Like Ernesto Moralez are Redefining Public Health Strategies

Against the backdrop of current-day societies, chronic ailments such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are front runners in a race to propel increasing mortality rates. Chronic illnesses are not communicable from one individual to the next, unlike tuberculosis, pneumonia, and other infectious diseases. Hence, drastic changes in healthcare focus must be taken in response to the new set of challenges posed by chronic illnesses. This shift has further emphasized the rise in preventive measures, dietary modifications, increased physical activity, and pharmacologic interventions. However, this dominant approach fails to consider the elusive influencers behind chronic diseases. For this reason, this article will discuss the hidden determinants of these diseases and innovative solutions for mitigating them.

The 20th century took a turn as chronic diseases displaced infectious diseases, which were the leading causes of mortality, in the annals of public health. Now the real burden on public health shifts to conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory ailments. Unlike infectious diseases, which can be transmitted through contact with infected individuals, chronic ailments’ origins are complex and tied to multiple factors.

With an almost 60% global mortality rate caused by chronic diseases, the basic tenets of public health and medical care have had to undergo a major realignment. This paradigm shift focuses on the proactive promotion of healthier dietary choices, advocating for increases in physical activity and appropriate usage of pharmaceutical remedies to effectively control chronic conditions. While there have been sound outcomes in overall health improvement with these strategies, it is often overlooked how chronic diseases are basically backed by concealed influencers.

Ernesto Moralez represents the leading figures and scholars in public health education and stands for a deeper view of chronic diseases. Moralez advances the importance of addressing systemic factors rather than just promoting personal responsibility for adopting healthier lifestyles. This implementation incorporates zoning policies, which limit the selling of tobacco and vaping supplies, knowing how critical it is to reduce access to such products and curtailing tobacco and vaping advertisements to youths. In addition, according to Moralez, the increase in the number of stores that sell alcohol and tobacco products in low-income neighborhoods has a tangible impact on the foci of chronic diseases.

Ernesto Moralez argues that promoting indifference or abstinence from tobacco products is essential but that the healthy lifestyle approach places an unwarranted moral imperative on individuals. Less liquor and tobacco stores are in affluent neighborhoods, while more liquor and tobacco stores are in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. The concentration of liquor and tobacco stores is one of the significant causative factors for why chronic diseases seem contagious. For this reason, limiting the unhealthy choices people have is important for promoting better long-term health.

He also argues that we have to take into account that there are sources of chronic diseases that cause disease clustering just like infectious diseases. Indeed, county maps that show incidences of diabetes included clusters in low-income neighborhoods characterized by limited accessibility to healthcare services, high levels of unemployment, and subpar neighborhood conditions.

For the enthusiasts who would like to dig deeper into the public health approach Ernesto Moralez is espousing, a comprehensive exposition is being made available in his own public health curriculum and in the forthcoming edition of the well-known introductory public health textbook entitled Introduction to Public Health that he co-authored with two other distinguished authors.