Medical Professional’s Roles in Cutting the Epidemic
As, I said in the introduction, many people believe that obesity is a medical condition. People believe it to be clinical, since medical professionals play a role in stopping this epidemic. The healthcare system in our country is suffering from the epidemic as the increase in chronic diseases is resulting in a continuous increasing trend in the cost of health care (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 2). “The cost for treating a child who is obese is approximately three times higher than the cost for treating an average weight child” (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 2). The high cost of healthcare will continue when they are older. These additional costs are passed onto others throughout public and private health insurance systems.
It was not until 2010 when doctors began to use the words “overweight” and “obese” to describe children (Warren and Smalley 12). Before 2010, when physicians saw children who could be overweight or obese, the doctors said they are “at risk for being overweight” or “at risk for being obese” (Warren and Smalley 16). The doctors did this because they did not want to bully the children and their parents and hurt their feelings (Warren and Smalley 17). But, by not telling the truth, it made the situation worse because parents heard the words “at risk” and thought that the child was still in a healthy state and postponed the need to worry about them being overweight (Warren and Smalley 16). Doctors need to use the correct words because they are the professionals that parents and children are relying on to tell them that a change needs to occur to prevent a child from being obese (Warren and Smalley 17). The discussion the doctor needs to have with parents and children includes education on eating habits, physicals activity, nutrition, and healthy weight (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 26). The physicians need to tell the families the short term and long term affects on children who are overweight and do not change (Ellis).
Many believe that the medical professionals have the “quick fix” solution to the problems. Bariatic surgery, weight-loss surgery, used to be considered an alternative method for weight loss (Warren and Smalley 79). It was used as a last resort option but now is becoming an increasingly popular option for children (Warren and Smalley 79). For a child to have one of these surgeries they need to fill requirements such as a BMI over 40 and failing to lose weight in a six month period (Warren, Smalley 80).
Obesity should be looked at by the society as a wellness system problem (Ellis). By including the medical professionals many parents believe that they are treating short term illnesses because that will fix diseases (Ellis). Instead, parents also should view medical professionals as treating long term diseases by doing prevention counseling. The parents are viewing doctors in a sickness oriented system which uses surgery or medication as the answer (Ellis). But these surgeries come at great risk for children and may not be the answer if the habits that they have are not changing as well. Even if the stomach is smaller if they are still eating high calorie food it is not going to make a difference. Doctors are working to inform the public of changes that needs to be made to prevent this disease from even occurring in the first place. The next post is going to be exploring the final sector of society that can make overarching impacts on the society, which is the government.
Ellis, Marie. “Teen Obesity Linked to Serious Health Problems in Adulthood.” Medical New
Today. MediLexicon International Limited, 19 November 2013. Web. 19 November 2013.
United States Senate. “Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic.”
U.S. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 4 March
2010. Hearing. Web. 1 November 2013.
Warren, Jacob C. and K. Bryant Smalley. “Always the Fat Kid: The Truth About the Enduring
Effects of Childhood Obesity.” New York: Pagrave Macmillan. 2013. Print.