Archive | disparities RSS for this section

Social Movement Geared Towards Whole Population to End Epidemic

The world we live in today is different than before the 1980s. This is a world where there are many things “at a click of a button”. The use of technology is having an impact on all of us. By realizing the negative ways there can also be positive ways that it can be used to help our society and to change the obesity problem. Technology is just a small addition to the problem, the main ones are environmental, social, economic, and behavioral.

Combating childhood obesity often needs to happen on an individual level depending on the kind of changes the child needs to make (Parker et al., 3). Most likely there needs to be a change in what the child is eating and the amount of exercise that they are doing daily. The sector that will be dealing with the individual scenarios are the medical professionals who are having individual appointments with the children and their parents. Many of the issues are the same for all children so there needs to be obesity prevention strategies targeted at the whole population (Parker et al., 3). These issues should not be dealt with on an individual basis since it affects the whole population whether it is them personally, their children, or their parents. These whole population strategies can be done in the educational institutions, in the homes, in the workforce, and through government policies.

To combat this crisis there can never be too much interventions and prevention strategies taking place. These interventions have been created but more needs to be done (Parker et al., 3). When gearing interventions towards children we need to be aware that they need to include others for it to be successful (Parker et al., 3). By including aspects of control, having fun, competition, social interaction, and more we are able to prove to children and parents that this behavior can be changed if they are willing to do so (Parker et al., 3). Another important point is that when making these interventions there needs to not be a focus on the particular behavior change that they are hoping for (Parker et al., 3). But making it vague, such as to become healthier, then eating more vegetables each day follows (Parker et al., 3). Having numerous interventions together creates a social movement (Parker et al., 5). This is happening today by making policies that get families, government, and schools involved (Parker et al., 5). The social movement and the addition of strategies need to continue until this epidemic is under control. There needs to be more pressure on all of these sectors for them to constantly make this a priority. If this goes to the background then there is going to be a generation that is going to be getting sicker and then dying sooner.

Work Cited

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Alliances for Obesity

Prevention: Finding Common Ground. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press, 2012. Print.

Government Actions to Curb Epidemic

            To continue exploring the different sectors of society that have impacts in curbing the epidemic, the last sector in society is the government. They are realizing what the long term affects of this disease means on the American people and have been implementing numerous initiatives to change the magnitude of this epidemic.

            When the government first began to see the large number of children this epidemic was affecting, they began to take action. The first step was in 2005 when the Institute of Medicine published “Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance” (Parker et al., 18). This report was a congressional request for a national action plan addressing the childhood obesity epidemic (Parker et al., 18). It was stated that “protecting the children from harm and creating social and environmental conditions that support healthy growth and development are fundamental responsibilities of all societies” (Parker et al., 18). The report stated that the government has as a responsibility to take action, so that all children can grow up with a healthy lifestyle and will not need to worry of the long term consequences of their childhood weight.

            In 2009, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a few Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports related to childhood obesity. One was called “Recommended Community Strategies and Measurement to Prevent Obesity in the United States (“Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity” 6). This report was geared towards local governments on how to best proceed with prevention methods (“Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity” 6). The government wants to reinvest in the community members so they can lead healthy lifestyles and spur the economy (“Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity” 6).

            The government has created laws, reports, and incentives for all individuals, but especially targeted towards children, in many different sectors regarding controlling the obesity problem. One newly installed initiative is in relationship with food benefits. Many recipients of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) are families with children. Many have been living in places where they have no accessibility to grocery stores that have fresh produce. The food that is mainly given to children is cheap and unhealthy. To try to combat these limitations the government created two different programs. One is the Fresh Food Financing Initiative which is building grocery stores that have fresh produce in the neighborhoods that currently do not have any (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 33). In addition to having these new stores they are also beginning to have more flea and farmers markets in these areas and the SNAP recipients are able to use their cards to purchase fresh and local produce for their families (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 33). These changes were needed since the government became aware that the food system on a local and regional level as well as the infrastructure needed to be rebuild and the consolidation of the different stages of the food system needs to be altered (Parker et al., 15). This is not just good for the health of the people but it is beneficial to the economy as a whole (Parker et al., 15). These are going to help solve one of the issues in the neighborhood, but the one that needs to be solved is the eating habits of children.

            Similar action plans are happening in other sectors of society. The government acknowledges there are environmental, social, and economic factors that are creating the increase in childhood obesity. So they believe if they come up with plans to disintegrate those issues then there can be less of an epidemic and a healthier society.

Work Cited

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Alliances for Obesity

Prevention: Finding Common Ground. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press, 2012. Print.

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Bridging the Evidence Gap in

Obesity Prevention: A Framework to Inform Decision Making. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press. 2010. Print.

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.

United States House of Representatives. “Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity.” U.S.

Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce. Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 16 December 2009.

Hearing. Web. 1 November 2013.

Obesity: A Multidimensional Disease

Obesity is a multidimensional disease based on many factors that are combined to make someone prone to become obese. It is the combinations of genetics, nature which cannot be changed, and environment, nurture since these are built and can be changed (Wardlaw, Smith, Lindeman 258). There has been much research done and still they cannot find a particular gene that specifically identify if a person is more susceptible to this disease (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic”). There are genes for processes that occur in the body that can effect on if a child is more prone to gaining weight and becoming obese (Wardlaw et al., 258). These genes determine the metabolic rate (the burning of calories from food items), fuel use (the ability to break down glucose for energy use), and differences in brain chemistry (the chemicals that tell the brain what should be done) (Wardlaw et al., 258).

In the environment there are disparities that make some children more likely to become obese (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 27). Some disparities are sex, socioeconomic status, and geographical location (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 27). Women are more likely than men to be obese because women usually have more fat in their composition than men (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 27). Having a lower socioeconomic status does not allow children to have as many resources as someone with a higher socioeconomic status (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 28). The lack of resources, such as money to buy fresh nutritious food, means that they will need to buy cheap food. Cheap food is tends to be processed, high calorie foods. Another disparity is geographical location, since in some areas there are no grocery stores nearby, limiting the healthy food options since few can be bought in the area (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 28). The neighborhood might not be safe so it is difficult for the child to go out and play since it can be dangerous. It is the sad truth that these disparities are so embedded in the society that they can have such an effect on the children. It is not allowing all children living in the United States to an equal lifestyle. This issue needs to have all sectors involved, especially policy changes, so that we can change how society is built. Only then will children not have as many of these issues and remain unknown to the fact that their surroundings are making them sick and they are unable to really make any changes alone.

After the disparities are alleviated it is then personal choices as to what actions they are going to take for their own well being. These personal lifestyle choices occur daily. Are they going to sit and watch TV or are they going to put on music and dance? Or deciding on what they are going to eat. Is it going to be a prepared TV dinner or is it going to be whole grain pasta with vegetables? It is all about the habits that they have learned to live by. And in many cases that is what needs to be changed. The next post is going to explore the technology world we live in today and the affects that it is making on children.

Work Cited

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.

Wardlaw, Gordon M., Anne M. Smith, and Alice K. Lindeman. “Contemporary Nutrition: A

Functional Approach.” New York: McGraw Hill. 2012. Print.