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.
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.