This coursework investigates the literature that is available on operational variables. It examines how different variables including diet, physical activity, health status, and social support can be operationalized. According to the literature available,
There has never been a consensus on how to operationalize dietary diversity, although it is universally considered to be a significant component of an ideal diet. For instance, it is universally accepted that diet has to be measured and balanced well to avoid discrepancies, related to individual nutrient demands, development stages of children and socioeconomic considerations of the household. There is a strong scientific reasoning, with regards to dietary diversity in developing children, supported with the fact that they need slightly more nutrients for proper growth. In addition, the household per capita income is strongly related to the people’s dietary diversity. This is a typical statistical ordinal variable (Ribes-Inesta, 2003).
Several environmental indicators have to be operationalized as they have a significant influence on physical activity performed by elderly persons. For instance, cold weather is likely to stifle one’s physical activity as it influences the breathing rate and, therefore, affects the rate of tissue perfusion. On the other hand, high altitude areas favor rigorous physical activity for long term gain because the concentration of oxygen in these areas is lower than in most other places. This stimulates the body to work harder in compensation for the low oxygen concentration (Ribes-Inesta, 2003).
Operationalizing certain social and medical factors would lead to the improvement of people’s health status. For instance, medical ethics would restrain medical practitioners to act more keenly in administering treatment to their patients. On the other hand, public health ethics, if properly practiced, would ensure that individuals do not predispose themselves to unnecessary health risks. Similarly, the quality of health improves with increasing social support practices for children, friends and spouses. However, the social support for spouses has been considered the most significant in terms of positive impact they have on health. This is typical of a nominal variable (Ribes-Inesta, 2003).
In conclusion, there are several variables that must be operationalized before relating data to diet, physical activity or health status. These, if ignored, would lead to errors that would make the statistical data untenable for comparison purposes.