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- 1.0 Background to the Problem
- 2.0 Review of the Literature
- 3.0 Description of the data
- 4.0 Data Analysis
- 5.0 Research Methodology
- 6.0 Expected Outcomes
- Individual Role in Project Implementation
- Assessment of the Proposal
- Discussion on Barriers of Implementation
- Conclusions and Recommendations
Childhood obesity is a major problem in the United States. Childhood obesity is characterized by a Body Mass Index – the body weight (kilograms) divided by the height (meters) – of 95th percentile or higher. It is a significant public health issue because a majority of the processes that lead up to obesity start in early childhood. The World Health Organization (2012) says that over 170 million children globally are estimated to be suffering from obesity. The organization attributes this to poor lifestyle choices such as eating habits and lack of physical exercise. This research aims at establishing the role of poor eating habits in exposing children to obesity and overweight. It will investigate the impact of poor nutrition in the prevalence of childhood obesity. For this study to develop a comprehensive policy direction that will effectively combat the spiraling trend of childhood obesity, it will be necessary to investigate the environmental factors that contribute to poor dietary behaviors among children. Exposure to TV food advertising and easy access to fast foods are the environmental factors that influence children to prefer certain types of foods at the expense of more nutritionally beneficial ones. Data will be analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The research design shall adopt a mixed approach that integrates both the qualitative and quantitative approach to research. The researcher expects to confirm the hypothesis that dietary behavior is linked to childhood obesity. This hypothesis is linked to findings obtained from secondary research that shows that intake of vast amounts of fast foods and sugary beverages can potentially lead to childhood obesity and overweight. It is also expected that the data will show that the overweight or obese children eat fast foods more regularly than normal-weight children. Finally, the research will prove that a proper diet is the most effective strategy to prevent childhood obesity.
Obesity in children is an issue of growing concern not just in the U.S. but the entire the world. According to World Health Organization, childhood obesity is among the most serious health issues affecting children of school going age across the world (WHO, 2016). In the United States, the prevalence of this condition keeps increasing. For instance, it increased 15.3 percent in 1999-2000 from 4.2 percent in the 1960s (Cunningham, Kramer & Narayan (2014). Obesity, defined, means a high body mass index (BMI), reading beyond the 95th percentile. BMI is obtained by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters. It is concerning that the processes that culminate into one developing obesity mostly begin in early childhood; a factor that contributes in making the condition a serious health issue (Cunningham, Kramer & Narayan, 2014). The rate at which the condition’s prevalence is increasing has even made it turn into a public health crisis (Dawes, 2014). A public health crisis, as described by Dawes (2014), denotes a public health problem affecting a large population segment, yielding far-reaching health repercussions, and condemns society to a huge financial burden. Childhood obesity by all standards fits this description. Society would thus realize significant gains in public health if childhood obesity would be prevented or effectively controlled.
According to Daniels (2006), childhood obesity is a significant contributor to cardiovascular diseases later in life. It is also linked to many health problems related to the metabolic system, disorders that only adults suffered from but are increasingly appearing in children as well (Daniels, 2006). Childhood obesity also leads to other health problems later on in life, even if such problems are not manifested in early life. Daniels (2006) notes that recent research shows that young people today have higher blood pressures than did those in the previous decade. Apart from heart ailments like hypertrophy or thickening of the heart’s left pumping chamber and atherosclerosis, childhood obesity leads to other health problems such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and psychosocial disorders such as depression and poor self-image (Daniels, 2006). This study will investigate the kinds of foods that play a part in the development of obesity in children in the United States.
2.0 Review of the Literature
Childhood obesity prevalence in the United States has been widely documented in the literature. Among the factors that have been established as contributing to obesity in children are genetic predisposition, nutritional factors, and lack of physical exercise (World Health Organization, 2012). This research will investigate the impact of poor nutrition on weight gain and obesity in children. According to the World Health Organization (2012), over 170 million children globally are estimated to be suffering from obesity. The high prevalence has been attributed to poor lifestyle choices such as eating habits and lack of physical exercise (WHO, 2012). Heart ailments, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers are the obesity-related diseases that cause early mortality and long-term morbidity, making childhood obesity a significant public health challenge.
Warren et al (2014) attribute lifestyle changes to the increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity. The authors say that lack of physical exercise and consistent feeding in energy-dense foods are the leading causes of childhood obesity, which account for 33% of adult obesity. Long-term treatment of obesity is often very difficult, which makes prevention a viable and cost-effective option (Warren et al, 2014). Deghnan, Akhtar-Danesh, and Merchant (2005) attribute increased intake of energy-rich foods to the increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity. The authors assert that, because food has become cheaper in recent times with the general increase in incomes and reduced cost of living, access to various types of foods has increased and shifted the perception of food from a source of nourishment to that of pleasure (Deghman, Akhtar-Danesh, and Merchant, 2005).,
To compound the problem, the authors conclude that research has shown that the fattening effects of increased intake of energy-rich foods is not necessarily offset by a corresponding increase in physical activity, making eating patterns the single most significant contributor to childhood obesity. Children who frequently eat fast foods are more prone to being obese because of the high fat and sugar content of the meals (Deghman, Akhtar-Danesh, and Merchant, 2005). Evidence alluding to a positive correlation between increased dairy intake and reduction in the risk of being overweight by up to 70% also supports the notion that dietary interventions are the most effective strategies of preventing childhood obesity and, by extension, obesity in adulthood.
O’Dea (2005) emphasizes the role of proper nutrition, amid other interventions, in the prevention of childhood obesity. However, she warns that weight control should not be allowed to dominate the health agenda of children to the exclusion of other concerns such as their psychological and social wellbeing. Overemphasis of weight control and dieting often carries the unintended consequence of creating body image issues and eating disorders such as induced vomiting, intentional starvation, abuse of laxatives, usage of diuretic and slimming pills, and even smoking as a strategy to suppress appetite and avoid eating (O’Dea, 2005). Proper nutrition should, therefore, emphasize the eating of balanced meals rather than limiting food intake. The eating habits of children should be closely monitored to ensure that they do not pick the wrong eating habits from their peers and the mass media.
According to Lumeng (2005), children pick their eating habits from their peers beginning from a very early age. The author cites research findings that show that children as young as two years acquire their food preferences from their peers and advertisements. Lumeng (2005) asserts that children learn from each other’s eating habits as a biological and evolutionary survival strategy; children learn to be discriminatory eaters from an early age to protect themselves from eating poisonous foods, especially plant life, and also learn to copy from each other’s feeding habits as a survival tool because children’s nutritional needs tend to be alike and slightly different from that of grown-ups. Advertisers have realized the fact that children will eat what they see other children eating, and use children or characters that appeal to them to sell food meant for children.
Sinnott (2011) asserts that food advertisements have a role to play in the establishment of poor eating habits in children that cause obesity, alongside other factors such as the time they spend indoors playing video games or watching TV. She adds that an increase in exposure to food advertisements increases children’s risk to obesity through unhealthy eating habits. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2006), the excessive consumption of fast foods and soda and a decrease in the amount of cereal fiber, fruits, and vegetables by children increase the risk factors for obesity. Food advertisements targeted at children tend to market fast foods and sweets which increase their predisposition to obesity, while vending machines in schools contain sugary beverages and snacks.
There is also a strong positive correlation between high intake of sugary beverages and soft drinks by children and obesity. They also say that there is a correlation between fat intake and obesity. This means that fast foods, which comprise of foods high in fats and sugary drinks, are responsible for the rise in prevalence of obesity in the US. In addition, Davis et al. (2007) present research findings that suggest that children who skip breakfast have a greater risk of being obese than children who regularly take breakfast. They also say that regular family meals improve children’s eating habits. This research will investigate the eating habits of 6 to 10-year-olds in Washington DC and weight trends. The purpose will be to establish the eating patterns that contribute to overweight and obesity. The next section presents data collection tools and analysis.
Friedman and Schwartz (2008) assert that the simplest causal explanation for the high prevalence of childhood obesity in the contemporary American society is the huge difference between the amount of energy that is taken in and the amount that is expended through physical activity. This explanation alludes to the fact that children are eating too much of energy-rich foods but are not taking part in activities that can utilize this energy. Friedman and Schwartz (2008) say that, to develop a comprehensive policy direction that will effectively combat the spiraling trend of childhood obesity, it is important to investigate the environmental factors that contribute to poor dietary behaviors among children. This conclusion alludes to the notion that there are environmental factors that influence children to prefer certain types of foods at the expense of more nutritionally beneficial ones.
Certainly, the impact of food advertising on childhood obesity is a current point of focus for many researchers interested in finding out how poor nutrition contributes to obesity. Friedman and Schwartz (2008, p.718), for instance, allude to a “toxic environment” of mass mediated messages in advertising and film that glorifies fat-saturated, calorie-dense meals that are of poor nutritional quality, besides the stationing of such foods at convenient and highly-accessible locations near schools, in shopping malls, hospital lobbies, and at highway rest stops as responsible for the rise in the number of children partaking these foods and, consequently the number of children suffering from childhood obesity. This conclusion is also taken up by Lumeng (2005), who avers that television food advertising is a great culprit in contributing to poor eating habits among children, ergo childhood obesity.
The way forward offered by Friedman and Schwartz (2008) is to institute nutritional policies that take care of the “toxic environment” described above, while at the same time ensuring that children only readily access food types that are of high nutritional value. Such a policy can be implemented at multi-levels, including national, state, and local. They also suggest school nutritional education as a great way of reversing negative eating habits and inculcating better nutritional behavior among children.
McClaskey (2010) cite the Upper Cardozo Medical Clinic in Washington DC as one of the success stories among childhood obesity prevention programs in the country targeting the poor and underserved communities that have also been affected by the pandemic. The clinic uses the medical home model in which the patients are provided with round-the-clock care that takes cognizance of their cultural values and beliefs and in which there is a constant ongoing relationship between the patients and their caregivers as well as coordination of caregiving between community services and health providers (McClaskey, 2010). The general aim of the Upper Cardozo program was to provide overweight and obese children aged between 7 and 13 years and their parents with a proper environment that was safe and easily accessible in which to learn better nutritional choices and physical activities that could help control and even reverse childhood obesity.
The literature reveals that one of the most comprehensive approaches to childhood obesity management involves a multi-dimensional approach involving the use of combined nutritional and activity-based interventions, cognitive-behavioral aspect, activities aimed at parents, tracking the activities of their bodies and a positive approach to limiting sedentary behavior and poor eating habits (McClaskey, 2010). While focusing on the multi-tiered approach to combating childhood obesity, the nutritional factor remains one of the biggest areas in which to focus. Policy interventions should be targeted at limiting children’s access to calorie-rich foods including TV advertising, while at the same time teaching them the benefits of proper nutrition.
The study shall utilize qualitative data analysis involving the examination and analysis of the available literature on childhood obesity. Quantitative data analysis shall also be undertaken on quantitative evidence pointing to the prevalence of childhood obesity. Evidence from previous studies shall be examined in relation to successful nutrition-based or mixed intervention programs and the impact of children’s diet on childhood obesity. The aim will be to establish correlations between eating patterns and the incidence of childhood obesity. The data shall be obtained from books, health journals, credible Internet sources, policy papers, guidelines, and national reports. A qualitative analysis of the data shall guide conclusions as to the impact of food intake on incidence of obesity, the contribution of TV food advertising to the prevalence of childhood obesity, and the most effective nutrition-based interventions.
According to Tewksbury (2009), qualitative data analysis looks for the defining characteristics, traits, and meanings of phenomena under study, while quantitative data analysis measures quantities of variables to establish a pattern to enable the researcher to establish a generalized conclusion about the phenomenon. Qualitative analysis seeks to establish interpretations of phenomena, giving a holistic view of their occurrence, providing contextual and environmental analyses, and deeper understanding (Tewksbury, 2009). Eating habits and their relationship to weight gain will be analyzed qualitatively.
The data that will be captured from the literature shall be both qualitative and quantitative, hence the necessity to analyze it quantitatively and qualitatively. The research methodology to be used in this study is discussed in the next section. The researcher has opted for the mixed approach, which is a methodology that integrates qualitative and quantitative approaches.
The research shall adopt a mixed approach that integrates both the qualitative and quantitative approach to research. Borrego, Douglas, and Armelink (2009) describe four criteria for establishing whether to use a mixed research methodology. These criteria are; 1) whether the study uses mixed qualitative and quantitative approaches method in the research process, particularly in data collection and analysis procedures as well as theoretical grounding of the research, 2) provision for a detailed description of both qualitative and quantitative procedures as well as sequential and concurrent data collection and analysis, 3) inclusion of the relevant characteristics of mixed method approaches, 4) awareness of the challenges of using the mixed method. These challenges include threats to validity, specifically sampling, sample size, and integration phases (Borrego, Douglas and Armelink, 2009).
Bryman (2007) analyzes the inherent challenges that could impede the integration of quantitative and qualitative research methods in order to come up with the mixed approach. These potential challenges include such issues as inherent difficulties in linking the analyses of quantitative and qualitative data. This challenge may be overcome by keeping in mind the rationales for adopting the mixed method and to reconcile the rationales and the type of use for the research (Bryman, 2007). The mixed approach will be advantageous for this study because of the different types of data that will be generated, and that might require a concerted approach to analysis. The mixed approach has the potential of providing a more holistic view of the phenomenon than either qualitative or quantitative approaches used singly. By addressing the potential shortcomings in data analysis as outlined by Bryman (2007), the researcher will be able to fully benefit from the advantages of using the mixed approach. The next section will discuss some of the expected findings from the research.
The researcher expects to confirm the hypothesis that dietary behavior is linked to childhood obesity. This hypothesis is linked to findings obtained from secondary research that shows that intake of vast amounts of fast foods and sugary beverages have a strong positive correlation with obesity and overweight risk. It is expected that the data will reveal patterns showing that children who regularly eat fast foods and sugary beverages tend to be overweight and obese compared to children who do not.
It is also expected that the data will show that the children who are overweight or obese partake of greater amounts of fast foods and far more regularly compared to normal-weight children. These findings will support the conclusion that obese children tend to eat more fast foods than their normal-weight counterparts. It will also support the other hypothesis that poor dietary habits of children are responsible for causing childhood obesity and overweight. Data on nutrition-based interventions will also show that diet is an important causal factor in childhood obesity.
The final expected outcome is the conclusion that a proper diet is the most effective strategy to prevent childhood obesity, even more than physical exercise and slimming pills. The research expects to establish that children who eat regular and healthy meals show better physical and emotional health than children who regularly eat junk foods. In effect, to prevent childhood obesity, parents should regularly watch what their children are eating, and schools should supervise children’s eating habits.
The proposal’s positive outcome heavily depends on the strategies employed in implementing its goals and objectives. I will dedicate knowledge and expertise in creating policy paper that would define project implementation. Winning the war against obesity rests on a number of factors, which hinges on the government against this disease. Research shows that the nature of food that the U.S citizens take and lifestyle significantly determine the extent to which obesity prevails in the society (Davis, et al., 2007). A considerable amount of literature associate obesity spread in the United States to the prevailing social economic factors and their impact on culture. Such literatures cite poverty and education as factors that influence the rate at which obesity spread in the nation.
I will conduct research on the role of social economic factors in influencing obesity trends in the United States. The intervention approach, which the project will employ, largely depends on the recommendations that I will make concerning the social economic factors identified in the study. In making the policy paper, I will consider the effects of poverty in United States. Studies indicate that the obesity is a lifestyle condition. It means that the choices that people make concerning their eating habits significantly affect their chances of acquiring obesity. Interestingly, lifestyle directly depends on a person’s income.
A research conducted in the U.S. shows that children or people from poor families are likely to become obese more than their counterparts from middle and high class families (Lumeng, 2005). Some of the reasons behind this finding are that the high cost of living deprives the poor of buying or consuming healthy food. Many poor people would go for quantity food instead of taking quality food. Much of the foods that the poor take in are energy-giving food that adds more calories in the body than the amount required by the body. The energy giving foods are affordable to the poor than other classes of food. Thus, they are comfortable in buying such foods because that is what their income is able to support.
In response to this challenge, I will create a policy paper that persuades the government to regulate or make the cost of other classes of food affordable to the poor. I believe this policy will address the high cost of food that has deterred the low class from buying other classes of foods. My goal is to reduce obesity prevalence in the society and my approach is to create policy that helps the low class and the affected individuals to get alternative to the problems that they are presently facing. By making the foods affordable to the low class, they will be able to change their lifestyle hence change in the prevalence of this disease.
Like the policy on tobacco, I will create a policy paper that highlights the need to control the advertisement of high energy giving food without illustrating the potential danger of consuming these foods. Whereas the energy giving foods are not poisonous, consuming them in large amount without adhering to certain health rules precipitate acquisition of obesity. In my policy paper, I will ask the government to regulate the nature of the advertisement that reaches the public domain. Many food companies do appealing advertisement about consuming hamburgers, chips and soda without letting the society know the danger of consuming large quantities of these meals. In most advertisements, food companies encourage consumers to consume the value of their money without warning them about overconsumption. Indeed, many people visiting restaurants and joints do take large quantities of these foods. Studies reveal that many children prefer taking chips and soda because it is the cheapest meal available for lunch (Friedman and Schwartz, 2008). Owing to the economic constraints of most families, they would give their children the amount that would enable them take meals, especially, when they are out of their homes.
Although the parents find this approach affordable with the little amount of earning, they forget the danger they pose to their children. Many children object carrying packed meals or even those that able to carry packed meals also find it much easy to carry the take away chips and beverages that offer empty calories (Sinnott, 2011). Since there is a lack of public sensitization on consuming this kind of meal without subjecting the body to burn an equal amount of calories, students have often acquired obesity without knowing. I think when the government ascends to the policy of advertisement of the energy giving food especially the take away chips and hamburgers; many parents will be able to join in the fight against obesity.
I intend to create a policy on educating people against the obesity. I believe incorporating the study of obesity in schools will help the society acquire the knowledge of preventing the disease through a change of lifestyle. If taught in schools, students across the United States would get a chance to establish the dangers of food marketing by companies that manufacture potato products. The government often instructs policy makers in the education sector to create policies touching on the subject areas, which are compulsory to every student. I strongly suggest that the learners should be able to acquire the knowledge about food choice and the danger of consuming some of the most marketed foods on the market. Coupled with the policy on advertisement, many consumers especially the parents will identity the need to help the children avoid contracting this disease.
Dissemination of knowledge concerning this disease is an instrumental step in reducing its prevalence. I intend to ask the government to engage the healthcare workers in taking the campaign against obesity in schools as in the case of diseases such as HIV. I believe the involvement of the healthcare experts in conducting the campaigns in schools will alert the entire society concerning the danger of the disease. The society is keen on health issues that come to the public limelight especially when the government prorogates the healthcare workers to engage in the campaign against the disease. I assume that many parents that demonstrate concerns about their children will have a chance to hear from their children concerning the new move to stump out the obesity menace. The war against the spread of obesity should involve the parents because they have a greater role in defining the lifestyle of the child. Moreover, other than the teachers, parents or guardians tend to define learning environment at home whereas the teachers do so in schools. I expect many parents to back the move by the healthcare workers to warn on the danger of acquiring the disease through lifestyle.
The healthcare education would also help in influencing the nature of exercises that children will be taking both at home and in school. I have observed that many American children do not go to school by foot hence they do not have much of their time taking strenuous exercise that would require much energy giving foods. Owing to this scenario in my project implementation curriculum, I will provide every school or parent with information concerning the quantity of exercise that the child should take in the day. The information will also define the amount of food that the child should consume depending on the type of exercises that the child do during the day. I assume that the parents will use the information to source for food for their children as well as engage their children in exercise that would burn the equal amount of the calories consumed in the body.
I will recommend tax policy on foods that permeate obesity. Arguably, by increasing taxation, the government would be discouraging the consumption of such foods indirectly. This policy borrows the tax policy employed in regulating the consumption trend of tobacco in the society. As the cost of these food products increase, a few U.S citizens will be able to afford them hence discouraged buying. The ripple effect of the taxes will force the parents that give their children money for such food to consider alternative foods that the children will take (Friedman and Schwartz, 2008). Initiatives touching on the exposure of foods are instrumental to fighting the war against obesity. I will push for the little exposure of the foods considered as risks factors and more exposure for healthy food. Critics have established that amount of exposure of the healthy food and no healthy food affects the lifestyle of the society (Lumeng, 2005). Presently, the food companies have the autonomy of exposing the non-health foods because of the absence of a law that bars them from doing so. However, a change in policy on the same will affect the air hole, which the media houses will give to the food companies manufacturing their products
The proposal on obesity reduction offers an effective approach of reducing the prevalence of the disease. The short-term benefits of the proposal include change in lifestyle, which will eventually create long-term change in obesity prevalence in the society. When people adapt new eating habits as recommended by the public health departments, the society will experience a reduction of cases of obesity hence realization of the object of this proposal (McClaskey, 2010). The program is sustainable owing to the groundwork of its implementation. For instance, the involvement of the healthcare workers in advocating a change of lifestyle would draw the attention of the entire society. Moreover, incorporating the healthcare campaign in the school curriculum will enable the generations to come to avoid the disease. Arguably, as people learn about the disease in school, many will not only focus on the danger, but also care about passing the same information to the coming generation. Information is the greatest women that would help the society to fight this war effectively
The proposal to create a policy paper on obesity is a critical move that would call for the government involvement in controlling the disease. The government involvement in control the disease is critical because the warnings made by the health department without the involvement of the government do not seem to yield a positive outcome. Nevertheless, when the government creates approves the policy paper, the healthcare department and institutions will have a greater involvement in pushing the society to accept health practices advocated by the health department. Studies show that government involvement in defining societal healthcare practice has been effective in controlling diseases (Lumeng, 2005). For instance, the obesity policy paper will focus on measures of improving awareness about the disease and pushing the society to embrace a healthy lifestyle.
Another aspect that seems to suggest that the objectives of this proposal are achievable is engaging the community stakeholders in fighting the war against obesity. Involving the affected community in project implementation is critical to its success. Arguably, the community members will highlight the factors that permeate the prevalence of the disease whereas the project implementation team would focus on solving the problems highlighted in the community. The move aimed at preventing the prevalence of obesity would entail educating the community about healthy lifestyle.
Although the proposal is sustainable, certain aspects are likely to hinder its implementation. First, this proposal heavily depends on the approval of the policy paper. The difference between the present scenario and the anticipated scenario is the existing policy concerning obesity control. Since the policy paper addresses critical concerns that affect both the government and the society, ascending to the policy paper would lead to success of this proposal. In addition, the solution to the proposal offers a long-term solution to a societal problem as opposed to the short-term solution. Thus, implementing views that borders on the long-term solution is critical to the goals and object of this proposal.
While this proposal did not mention the need to create a tax-related policy on foods that permeate obesity, such policies would contribute immensely to the reduction of obesity prevalence. Economists believe imposition of taxes contributes to decrease in supply to certain products deemed harmful to human consumption. Nevertheless, executing this policy would have an equal amount of bottlenecks because the foods that are highly rich in calories are not harmful to human. The challenge of consuming these foods lies with the societal habits as opposed to the foods (Friedman and Schwartz, 2008). Thus, the government can alternatively convince the U.S. citizens by carrying out massive awareness campaign against the consumption of these foodstuffs in large quantities. In addition, the government should petition the food manufacturing companies to indicate the consumption patterns on the food rich in calorie.
Pricing of the food products can help in controlling the common use of the product. Critics have established that raising the products of the foodstuffs perceived to be permeating obesity will help in reducing the number of consumers that are able to buy these food products (World Health Organization, 2012). Borrowing from alcohol and tobacco policies, controlling the behavior of the people using the policies is possible. The obesity policy should translate to the current prevalence climate. O’Dea (2005) cites the contribution of the manufacturing companies that offer enticing advertisement without warning the public that consumption of food rich in energy demands equal amount of exercises to burn the calories gained in the body. Like the tobacco alcohol advertisement, the food companies should flag the advertisement by illustrating the possible danger of the problem.
The project implementation model constitutes the challenges or barriers to implementation of this proposal. Holistic approach would bring stakeholders from healthcare department and all the relevant people affected by the obesity challenge. The move to bring all the parties concerned together would create an environment of deliberating on all the factors impinging on the society and the concerned parties. Since the approach bring together all the parties, the project implementation is likely to receive a positive reception from the entire society. In developing a policy, the views or contribution of parties affected by the policy is instrumental in ironing the possible rejection of the policy (Daniels, 2006). For instance, the food manufacturing companies would view the policy as a negative tool created to destroy their businesses, whereas the society would look at the policy as an object that is critical in creating solutions to the challenges facing the society.
To limit the barrier of implementation, a detailed research on the impact of the policy instruments will help in decision-making. Information concerning the prevalence and the impact of the choices is critical in coming up with an effective policy paper. Interestingly, since policy will affect the entire society, collecting views from the society helps in making informed opinion about the challenges in question. Moreover, involving the stakeholders from the community is critical in pushing the policy agenda at the community level. The community participation in pushing for change is critical because it would offer a chance for it to choose what will help in changing the trends experienced in the society about obesity.
Inclusion of the opinions of the parties with a contrary opinion in the project implementation would help in solving the problem (Sinnott, 2011). However, certain decisions concerning policy implementation would impinge of rights of food manufacturing companies. Notably, these companies have never engaged the public in advising the public concerning the danger involved in the consuming their products. To solve this problem, I will ask the companies to consider highlighting the danger involved in consuming high calorie content or ask the public to consume these foods when they engage in strenuous exercise. Deliberating on the choice of advertisement is beneficial for both the food manufacturing company and the proposal implementing team. For example, when the food company targets the consumers that participate in strenuous activities in their advertisement, the change of theme would influence the consumption pattern of the product. Moreover, it would not have problems with the law concerning the product consumption.
The involvement of the government in the implementation of the proposal would force the recreation facilities to increase access of safe food to the society. Alternatively, the government should encourage lifestyles such as bicycle cycling in schools and even the commercial setting. Many people are not aware of the lifestyles that promote certain diseases such as obesity. By encouraging the public, the government would in one advocating lifestyle change, which is the principle of life. The move to make health food accessible to the public would significantly change the prevalence of the disease. The city governments should push recreation facilities to provide nutritional information about the foods that they sell to the citizens. According to Friedman and Schwartz (2008), the availability of the nutritional information about health food coupled with campaigns at the community level will contribute to a drastic reduction of the obesity. This policy is all-inclusive because it involves the food companies and the respective bodies working together to reduce the spread of obesity in the society.
To advocate for physical exercises through the media and at school will increase the awareness of the society about the need to change their lifestyles. Largely, the information relayed by the public health department is not enough if other segments of the society do not join in conveying the same information. However, by involving schools, the barrier of spreading the information to a few people in the society would. The schools would address the concern among the learners who are often vulnerable to the disease. In addition, the reception of the information by schools is critical to emphasizing on the need to realize such changes.
The proposal on obesity control address critical problems facing millions of people today in the United States. In a bid to implement this proposal I will contribute expertise knowledge in creating policy paper concerning the availability of health food in the recreation facilities and calling on the government to subsidize the cost of health foods that are not accessible to the majority of low class people in the society. Moreover, concentrating efforts in involving the stakeholders in fighting against this disease would lead to success of the proposal because every party would be pushing for the same goal. The health department, education department, local governments, and the industrial department would focus on ameliorating the problem facing the society. A joint approach limits crevices that would hamper the realization of the proposal’s objectives
The project has influenced the healthy living lifestyle in the low class community. Through the programs taught or covered in the project, the low class community has understood the danger of taking food rich in calories without engaging the body with exercises that would burn similar amount of calories. The low class and the rest of the society have realized the need to question the content of the fast food sold in the fast food outlets. The awareness demonstrated by the public concerning the food sold to them is instrumental in shaping their health and fighting the spread of obesity. With the target population changing their choice of food: from junk food to health food, the demand pattern of health food would increase remarkably.
The young learners and schools have understood the need to take exercise and reduce the amount of energy food intake. The change in eating pattern among the young population is instrumental to the fight against the spread of obesity because they are the majority of the affected population (Kane & Radosevich, 2010). The awareness demonstrated by the school going population and embracing of the program by school is a positive to the prevention of the disease. Largely, the demonstration of concern by the schools is suggestive that the society is embracing the need to change their trends of eating and lifestyle. According to Nonas and Foster (2009), health professionals agree that proper nutritional management amounts to total control of the spread of the disease.
The changes of social practices especially eating pattern and lifestyle within the community level describe the extent to which the society considers the program as instrumental to their lives. The society seems to practice what the health officers emphasized concerning the choice of meals and exercises that people should take. Further, the general public knowledge about health food is critical to eliminating spread of the obesity disease in the society (Williams, Pasch & Collins, 2013). The assumption of the program is that people with the knowledge of obesity would strive to engage in lifestyle practices that would reduce the spread of the disease. In fact, many would seek alternative food as a means of avoiding risk factors.
The public health outcomes applied during the MPH Practicum were change of behavior concerning the choice of the most preferred food. Literature on healthy living suggests that choice of food tend to affect the health condition of an individual (Beyrer & Pizer, 2007). The assumption in this project is that the change in the living standard would amount to change in obesity prevalence in the society. As the American low class population change their patterns of food, we assume that it amount to change in prevalence. In the past 20 years, the rate of obesity prevalence has increased remarkably. Presently, a third of adult U.S. population (35.7%) and 17% of children and adolescent aged 2-19 are obese. Lack of access to health food is assumed to account for obesity prevalence among the low class population. As the low class population consumes more food rich in calories without supplementing them with other types of nutrients, they end up accumulating a lot of calories in the body that is harmful to human health.
Lack of information concerning obesity or risk factors is assumed to expose the society to consuming foods that would lead to obesity. The majority of the targeted population did not care about the nutrient content in the foods that they consumed. Instead, their worry is how to get some food that could satisfy their hunger. As a result, the population eats large content of food rich in calories because they are more affordable than other types of foods. Lack of healthy food in the low class residential areas is suggestive that they consume a lot of junk food (Haskell, Blair & Hill, 2009). The most available food in a given locality illustrates the eating pattern of respective area. Thus, we assumed that presence of too much junk food in the targeted locality is indicative of common use of such foods (Shahidi, Neeser & German, 2004). Lastly, the high prices of healthy foods are assumed to limit the likelihood of the low class to consume the same. The poor live on a limited budget that cannot sustain meeting the cost of the healthy foods.
The change in trends of new obesity reported in the healthcare facilities is indicative that the society is changing its trends concerning lifestyle and foods. With increased physical activity among children, especially the school going age and reduction of intake of calorie giving food, the population would register few instances of new obesity cases (Haskell et al., 2009). The reduction of mortality rate arising from obesity is a positive indication that the war against the obesity is taking a positive shape. The negative change in the number of cases reported concerning victims of obesity is suggestive that the society is positive about the project. On the other hand, increased number of cases reported about obesity is suggestive that the program did not yield positive result and prevalence rate of the disease is still high. Largely, decrease in prevalence of the obesity is associated with decline in the number of new cases reported in the healthcare facilities.
When the healthcare facilities record low instances obese people seeking treatment after the end of the project, we assume that they target society has changed its lifestyle and eating pattern. Lifestyle and eating patterns are the primary aspects that determine whether a child would acquire obesity or not. The overall change in lifestyle with many people taking psychical exercises that would burn equal amount of calories that they consume would result into low cases of obesity among the target group (Christakis & Fowler, 2007). Similarly, when the eating pattern changes the community will experience low cases of obesity because of reduction of susceptibility to contracting obesity. Thus, eating pattern is instrumental in the fight against the prevalence of obesity in the society. The community has to change its social values that affect eating pattern.
Dietary behavior and lifestyle of most American families are responsible for the spread or prevalence of obesity. The economic constraints of the low class families is responsible for the dietary behavior of consuming too much of the calorie giving foods. Compared to other foods, the calorie giving foods are not only affordable to the low class, but also abundantly available as well as heavily marketed to the U.S society. Moreover, the inadequate supply of the healthy food in residential areas of the low class is responsible for the dietary behavior (Kane & Radosevich, 2010).
Limited dietary information has permeated consumption of energy giving foods without acknowledging the danger of consuming such food in large quantities. Obesity is a lifestyle disease whose control and prevention lies on the behavior of the society. Notably, this study established that lack of information concerning obesity among the American populace was responsible for the clumsiness in adhering to healthy living.
Sedentary behavior is a common aspect in the U.S. society. Most children spend much of their time indoors especially when they are at home. Media is the prime source of entertainment an aspect that denies them the chance to take exercises and burn the fat accumulated in their bodies. The time children spend holed in the media or indoor is injurious to their health because it promotes accumulation of fats in the body. Importantly, children should spend most of their time in physical activities in order to put into use the energy reserved in the body. Without spending the energy reserved in the body in physical exercises, calorie intake should be very low.
The children who spend much of their time consuming media content are the major recipients of the food advertisements. They attempt to experiment the information that they receive through the media. Unfortunately, the fast food outlets do not warn the society against taking too much of the calorie giving food. Instead, they praise their products citing convenience and value for money as the prime reasons why consumers should go for their foods. The food advertisements have contributed in one way or the other in influencing the dietary patterns of the U.S. children (Friedman and Schwartz, 2008).
I recommend that the government should use media to create awareness about the choice of diet and physical exercise. The awareness campaign should focus on the permissive factors promoting obesity. Media would reach nearly every member of the society. Taking the campaign in the community, schools, and healthcare facilities would spread the health information to a considerable population. There is need for the government to regulate food advertisement with a view of passing the right information to the target recipients. Food companies often fail to relay nutritional information of foods that they advertise. The food companies would disclose nutritional information if the government creates regulations, which compel them to provide nutritional information of foods, which they sell.
Incorporating healthcare information in the school syllabus is instrumental in reducing the prevalence of this condition. Teachers would help learners understand the need to adopt certain health practices such as taking health food as opposed to junk food. Moreover, the teachers have pivotal role in engaging the learners in taking physical exercises while in school. This process will help the U.S. society realize a considerable change in prevalence of the disease. Sharing the information in schools would lead to societal behavioral change, which is critical to reducing the disease prevalence.
The U.S. government should help the society realize a lifestyle and dietary change by influencing the prices and availability of health supplies in low class community. The government should consider removing taxes on health foods as means of reducing health food prices. The high cost of health food impinges on the ability of the low class to buy such foods. However, government subsidies on the health food would enable the society to access such foods. The local governments in collaboration with the health department should help in ensuring that food premises provide nutritional content of foods sold. Availability of such information would help the consumers to make informed opinion about the foods they are yet to take.
Parents and guardians should help in changing the sedentary behavior of their children. Parents have a great role of influencing the social activities of the child. They should encourage children to take physical activities rather than spend much time in media because physical exercises help in reducing susceptibility of contracting obesity. Change of lifestyle is critical to realizing change in prevalence of this condition. With parents engaging the children in physical exercise, the children would buy the idea of healthy lifestyle that they would pass to the generations ahead.
Since the aim of this project is social change with respect to diet and physical exercise. The awareness campaign should concentrate in residential areas especially the low class residents in order to realize behavior change. It is important that the society should identify the need to change their social trends that promote the prevalence of the disease condition. Availing such information in the community level would make the society acknowledge the importance of dietary and lifestyle change. Moreover, the society would practice what the health officers have asked them to do.
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