Community Health Problems Essay

This essay sample on Community Health Problems Essay provides all necessary basic information on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.


Community Health Issues

A Brief Synopsis: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” is a film directed by Lasse Haltstrom, released in 1993 by J&M Entertainment. (IMDB, 2009) This film, starred in by Johnny Depp who played the lead role of Gilbert Grape tackles the kind of a dysfunctional community that suffers from broken down foundations impeding societal advancement and development.

Some of the issues presented in the film delve into the issues that the community health practice should be concerned with, particularly the issues of obesity and mental retardation. This establishes the relevance of these issues to community health nursing.

 Gilbert Grape lives in Endora, a small town in the state of Iowa, with his family. Gilbert’s mother is obese weighing almost 500 lbs.

Worsening her situation is the kind of lifestyle that she leads – that is, she enjoys staying home and watching the television. In addition, her behavior towards her life seems to be unenthusiastic caused by depression and aggravated by how the people in the community regard her as a person with weight problems. Gilbert’s brother, Arnie, is suffering from a mental disorder. Due to Arnie’s condition, he is sometimes uncontrollable and difficult to manage, particularly in containing his destructive behavior. Since his mother is unable to care for her children, Gilbert has taken the responsibility of looking after the Grape family neglecting his life in the process.

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(Blomquist & Hallstrom, 1993)

The primary theme of the story is centered on the daily struggles of Gilbert as he takes on the responsibility of keeping together a family that is falling apart because of troubles that seem to be irresolvable. The inner conflicts that Gilbert’s mother has to deal with because of depression due to his husband’s death through suicide, and the difficulties in caring for his brother with mental retardation were both problems that Gilbert is forced to see through everyday of his life. (Blomquist & Hallstrom, 1993) Gilbert’s life seem to be similar to living in a nightmare every single day with problems troubling you endlessly and never finding any solutions to make his life and his family’s any better. However, when Becky came along, a role played by Juliet Lewis, Gilbert was able to find hope in acceptance, redemption, and moving ahead, as her eccentric and energetic personality has influenced Gilbert to look at life differently.

Community Health Issues

The community health issues that are visible in the film include one of the health problems that the country is faced with – that is obesity – and the challenges of mental health problems especially in areas wherein access to mental health services are limited. In the case of Bonnie Grape, Gilbert’s mother, her issue with weight has something to do with depression caused by the death of his husband years back. It may be assumed that Bonnie preferred to stay home, never aware of the implications of lack in physical activity, that led her to become morbidly obese. Aggravating this societal issue was how the community in Endora regards people with problems of obesity. Instead of taking part in resolving the health issue at hand, the people in the community have worsened the problem by discouraging social interaction that might help in allowing Bonnie to seek help from health professionals regarding her condition. In addition, other factors that have contributed to Bonnie’s condition is the lack of information regarding the causes and implications of obesity and the Grape family’s socio-economic status which limits their capacity to seek for professional medical help.

Another community health issue integrated within the film is the appropriate treatment of people with mental disabilities. Arnie was mentally retarded living in a family setting wherein the people around him are now knowledgeable in handling the challenges that his condition might pose. Arnie’s observable behaviors that mark his disabilities include problems with his speech, troublesome behavior that is difficult to control despite his family’s efforts, poor intellectual capabilities, and inferior skills in human interaction. Arnie’s troublesome behavior instantly concludes that there is a need for him and his family to seek professional medical attention in order to determine how to handle challenges of mental retardation as Arnie’s family, and to identify the best way to help Arnie out in terms of health care and developmental needs. Other reasons that have caused the worsened situation of Arnie and his family also include his family’s lack of knowledge regarding mental retardation and their socio-economic status.

The Situations’ Impact on the Nursing Practice

The community health issues aforementioned calls the immediate attention of the nursing practice in addressing the problems since they are not only issues that the health care community is concerned with, but also the society since the quality of life is affected by these issues. For instance, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, their records obtained from surveying the issue of obesity in all states from 1985 until 2007 have revealed that the rate of obesity in the country has increased considerably. (CDC, 2007) The problem of obesity is identified to be caused by increased calorie intake but with low physical activity. Aside from natural factors that contribute to body weight such as genetics and heredity, and the rate of metabolism, the behavior of an individual towards health, the kind of environment that he lives in, his cultural beliefs or practices, and his socio-economic situations dictates how he stays healthy in terms of weight or unhealthy due to being overweight or obese. However, CDC stresses that behavior and the environment play a vital role in influencing the health of an individual under the conditions of obesity. (CDC, 2009)

This means that Bonnie’s situation could have been prevented or lessened had she been concerned with her health and had the community helped her resolve her weight problems. In the case of mental retardation, the CDC reiterates that individuals with this kind of condition need long-term professional care. CDC believes that subjecting individuals with mental retardation to long-term health care will help them lead healthy and productive lives. (CDC, 2005) This means that Arnie leads a life that is unsuited to his condition, requiring him to undergo long-term professional care services.

Community health nursing may intervene in resolving these problems by carrying out its primary roles and responsibility to the community as a whole. The role of public health nursing is centered on resolving health issues through prevention strategies or techniques that helps out the community as a whole, and not in individual terms. Public health nurses are expected to immerse themselves in communities and help families alleviate their health situations and prevent their contraction of serious illnesses and diseases such as obesity and handle health problems including mental retardation in the family through the transfer of knowledge about health care and nutrition to families within the community, including the implications of obesity and the proper way to deal with individuals with mental retardation. In addition, public health nurses are also expected to focus on other institutions in the community that might help in the process. For instance, public health nurses should go to schools within the community to inform them of the need to include issues about obesity in their educational programs for the purpose of educating the children and preventing obesity. Other options include asking fast foods, restaurants, or grocery stores within the community to become conscious in their roles in preventing obesity through food and nutrition awareness. Overall, community health nursing is guided by concepts and principles that enable it to handle social issues on a wider scale efficiently. (Manitoba Health, 2008)


Blomquist, A. C. & Hallstrom, L. (1993). What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. United States: J&M Entertainment.

CDC. (2005). Intellectual Disability. Retrieved February 10, 2009, from Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Website:

CDC. (2007). U.S. Obesity Trends 1985-2007. Retrieved February 10, 2009, from Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Website:

CDC. (2009). Obesity and Overweight. Retrieved February 10, 2009, from Center for   Disease Control and Prevention. Website:

IMDB. (2009). What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993). Retrieved February 10, 2009, from The Internet Movie Database. Website:

Manitoba Health. (2008). The Role of the Public Health Nurse within the Regional

Health Authority. Retrieved February 10, 2009, from Manitoba Health. Website:

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Community Health Problems Essay. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Community Health Problems Essay
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