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Health Issues

Take a closer look at the health issues facing Americans in the 21st century as they relate to social issues. These issues include the treatment and prevention of drug abuse, including both street drugs like cocaine and marijuana and prescription pain relievers like OxyContin and Vicodin. The skyrocketing abuse of prescription pain pills—a class of drug known as opioids—in the 2010s were linked to the overprescription of these drugs. Like with diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, addiction is caused by a combination of behavioral, environmental, and biological factors. People who engage in drug use put themselves at risk for contracting or transmitting viral infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), or hepatitis. Even as the healthcare system attempted to curb these prescriptions, the medicinal benefits of marijuana were touted as a reason to legalize it, with several successful efforts led at the state level.

Another issue of growing importance is the treatment and prevention of obesity, with nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population classified as obese in 2015–2016. Obesity occurs when a person’s body mass index is 30 or greater. The main symptom is excessive body fat, which increases the risk of serious health problems. Obesity-related health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer are among some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death, with the pharmaceutical cost of obesity estimated at $147 billion in 2008.

Mental illness is a health concern that is closely connected to the social problems of suicide and violence, including multiple mass shootings that shone a spotlight on the need for increased mental health services. In 2018, the World Economic Forum found that depression was the leading cause of disability, associated with several medical conditions. Many pregnant women and young adults may experience depression and anxiety, although many don’t get the help they need. The end of the 20th century also saw an alarming increase in the rates of autism in children, affecting one in nine children as of 2019.

Related to the issue of suicide is euthanasia, also known as assisted suicide or physician-assisted suicide. This controversial (and largely illegal) practice involves the painless killing of a terminally ill patient through lethal doses of medication at his or her request. Both sides cite ethics in making their case for or against euthanasia.


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Health Issues Resources

Gale offers a product portfolio of digital products, including databasesprimary sources, and eBooks, to support the study of health issues.


Gale databases offer researchers, students, and faculty credible, up-to-date health issues articles from scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Primary Source Archives

Gale Primary Sources contains archives and collections that provide users with firsthand content, including editorials, news, surveys, statistics, and reports that can be used to examine and analyze the evolution of health care over time.

Gale eBooks

Gale offers a variety of health issues eBooks. Users can add Gale eBooks to a customized collection and cross-search to pinpoint relevant content. Workflow tools help users easily share, save, and download content.

  • Sustainable Health and Long-Term Care Solutions for an Aging Population, 1st Edition

    Sustainable Health and Long-Term Care Solutions for an Aging Population, 1st Edition

    Medical Information Science Reference  | 2018 | ISBN-13: 9781522526346

    Lasting health care for the entire population, specifically the elderly, has become a main priority in society. It is imperative to find ways to boost the longevity of healthcare services for all users. This book is a pivotal reference source featuring the latest scholarly research on issues pertinent to health cost and finding effective ways of financing health care for the elderly. Including coverage on a number of topics such as provider accreditation, corporate social responsibility, and data management, this book is ideally designed for policymakers, academicians, researchers, and advanced-level students seeking current research on the innovative planning and development of health care.

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  • Today’s Debates: Health Care: Universal Right or Personal Responsibility?, 1st Edition

    Today’s Debates: Health Care: Universal Right or Personal Responsibility?, 1st Edition

    Cavendish Square Publishing    | 2019 | ISBN-13: 9781502643278

    In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act instituted one of the most comprehensive overhauls of the United States health care system in history, with the goal of insuring almost every American. Factions opposed to the law argued that the government shouldn’t have a role in providing health care coverage, and that lower-quality care and high costs are the inevitable result. Supporters of universal health care argued that every person has the right to health, and that government has a role to play in protecting this right. This book presents an in-depth overview of the health care debate from every angle, featuring sidebars and photographs that offer insight into questions of who provides and regulates health care and how questions of health coverage have played out in domestic and international politics.

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  • Transgender Health Issues, 1st Edition

    Transgender Health Issues, 1st Edition

    Greenwood Publishing Group   | 2018 | ISBN-13: 9781440858888

    Although transgender individuals have always existed, their fight for acceptance and equal rights is just beginning. Within this larger context, one area of emerging concern is their health—physical, psychological, and social. From legislation determining public restroom access to insurance coverage of hormone therapy for transitioning individuals to harassment and discrimination, transgender people face a number of challenges that can negatively affect their well-being. A part of Greenwood’s Health and Medical Issues Today series, Part I of this book explores definitions of sex and gender, the history of transgender awareness and activism, physical and psychological health concerns specific to transgender individuals, and how identifying as transgender can have different effects on individuals’ health at different stages in their life. Part II examines issues and controversies related to the health and well-being of transgender individuals. Part III provides a variety of useful materials, including case studies, a timeline of critical events, a glossary, and a directory of resources.

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  • Urban Health Issues: Exploring the Impacts of Big-City Living, 1st Edition

    Urban Health Issues: Exploring the Impacts of Big-City Living, 1st Edition

    Greenwood Publishing Group   | 2019 | ISBN-13: 9781440861727

    According to recent statistics, 80.7 percent of Americans live in urban areas, and more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. From various types of pollution to crime to overcrowding, the urban environment can have massive impacts on our physical, psychological, and social health and well-being. Moreover, while certain aspects of living in a city, such as access to health care, can improve lives, other factors can have detrimental effects and can lead to inequalities along racial and socioeconomic lines. This title examines 23 key issues related to urban health, exploring causes and consequences in-depth and highlighting what cities and individuals can do to safeguard the well-being of residents. It also draws comparisons between cities in the U.S. and the industrialized world and those in poor and developing nations, providing important global insights. Includes fascinating city case studies and illuminating interviews with experts working in a variety of fields.

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Resources to Boost Your Research

From trending social issues to classic literature, Gale resources have you covered. Explore overviews, statistics, essay topics, and more or log in through your library to find even more content.

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