Introduction to the essay
Today, our modern sedentary society is rapidly migrating from physical activity to electronic addiction, generating an epidemic of obesity. Obesity is one of the fastest growing diseases in the world, causing various dire socio-economic issues, especially in the developed and developing industrialized countries it is more acute. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the issue of obesity in the world by analyzing its prevalence, causes, and consequences. Also, it will emphasize on possible preventive measures for obesity.
Obesity and overweight are both terms for the ranges of weight that are greater than what is usually considered healthy for a given height. Obesity is also related to the ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the possibility of certain diseases and various other health problems (Overweight and Obesity, 2012).
Generally, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by means of a number called the "body mass index" (BMI). BMI is calculated by measuring the height and weight proportions. It is related to the amount of body fat in a person. An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, while an adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. Also, in children and teenagers of the age from 2 to 20 years old, a BMI in the 86th to 94th percentiles is considered overweight; while a BMI in the 95th or higher percentile is considered obese (Overweight and Obesity, 2012).
Measurements of skinfold thickness and waist circumference, calculation of waist-to-hip circumference ratios, and methods, such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound are some of the techniques to estimate body fat and body fat distribution (Overweight and Obesity, 2012).
Potential public policy to reduce obesity
It is possible to create a potential public policy, which may help our society to reduce obesity. The main prospective of the policy is to make global strategy on healthy diet. Such policies can identify population-based prevention strategies that help to decrease obesity. They can teach children and their parents to have a healthy way of life. It is possible to alter such policies by modifying the governmental food board strategies.
Government and social organizations can take special strategies and policies to reduce obesity. For instance, many strategies that lead to successful and effective weight loss will help to prevent obesity. Daily, at least 30 minutes of cardio exercises and meditation can aid in activating metabolism and burning extra fats. Parents should give attention to their children's healthy way of life. For nearby destinations, it is always recommended to go by walk instead of using a vehicle. Monitoring the weight regularly can be helpful to manage diet plans and weight loss programs. Consulting a nutritionist for a proper diet program according to the body requirements is very important. Sticking to the given healthy-weight plan without any interruption increases the chances of long-term success (OAC, 2014).
A specific jurisdiction proposal of the policy
I think it will be a good idea to apply the above policy against obesity in the United States and Eastern Europe. According to the reports of World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of overweight and obesity is highest in the regions of America with 62 percent for overweight in both sexes, and 26 percent for obesity, and lowest in the Southeast Asian region, with merely 14 percent overweight in both sexes, and 3 percent for obesity. In Europe and Eastern Mediterranean region, over 50 percent of women are overweight, among which roughly half of the women are obese, 23 percent in Europe and 24 percent in Eastern Mediterranean region. According to WHO, women are more likely to be obese than men. Especially, in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Mediterranean women have almost twice the obesity prevalence of men. So, if we apply a specific policy against obesity in the USA and Eastern Europe, then we can have a successful result. According to the policy, we can suggest people to adopt a healthy way of life by following certain rules and regulations of the healthy diet and physical exercise. Thus, it is possible to create a successful proposal of the policy (Obesity, 2013).
Examples of laws against obesity and results
Various organizations, including World Health Organization (WHO), The National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN), etc., work for the prevention of childhood obesity.
The National policy and legal analysis network to prevent childhood obesity (NPLAN)
The NPLAN was initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. One of the major roles of the foundation is to reverse the obesity epidemic till 2015. It works with different partners, such as Rudd Center for Food Policy, and Active Living by Design. They are run by Public Health Law and Policy. The organization provides legal technical assistance to the patients to prevent childhood obesity (ChangeLab Solutions, 2014).
The NPLAN was founded in 2007. Its prime job is to notice the quality of food that is sold by vendors and restaurants. It has developed a model menu for restaurants, which provides information about nutrition and calories of the foods in restaurants.
Childhood obesity is the most common eating disorder, which has reached the epidemic proportions in the modern society. Children are at high risk for numerous preventable chronic and acute medical issues, which are often related to increased depression and mortality. As a result, the seriousness of the issue has driven many experts to study and investigate etiology and effects of childhood obesity, and interventions to control it (ChangeLab Solutions, 2014).
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World Health Organization (WHO)
World Health Organization (WHO) has created various effective steps and policies to control obesity in the world. WHO has performed various researches and found that breastfed babies are 15 to 25 percent less likely to become overweight. The longer babies are breastfed, the less likely they are to put on extra weight as they grow older. For babies, which are breastfed for six months or longer, the likelihood of obesity is 20 to 40 percent less. WHO found that young people are usually overweight or obese due to lack of exercises or enough physical activities in combination with poor eating habits. The organization suggests that parents should be the role model for their children. Parents, who eat healthy foods and are physically active, set an example to their children, which increases the chances of their children to do the same. Children should be encouraged to play outdoor games rather than the computer or video games. Also, children should be encouraged to drink more water rather than beverages like soft drinks, sugar-added packet juices, sports drinks, etc. (How to Prevent Obesity, 2013).
The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)
OAC is an American national non-profit organization. It has about 50,000 members, who are dedicated to give voice to the individuals who are affected by the diseases. It helps people to create a healthy way of life journey. The main role of the organization is to focus on the awareness and improvement access to the treatment and prevention of obesity. The members provide evidence-based education and treatments to the common people. They fight against weight bias discrimination. They provide many strategies that produce successful and effective weight loss processes to prevent obesity. They teach people the healthy ways of life and cardio exercises. OAC advises that at least half an hour of cardio exercises and meditation can help to activate metabolism and burn extra fats. They recommend people to go by walk instead of using the vehicle for nearby destinations. Monitoring the weight regularly can be helpful to manage diet plans and weight loss programs. Consulting a nutritionist for the proper diet program, according to the body requirements, is very important. Sticking to the given healthy-weight plan without any interruption increases the chances of long-term success. Thus, OAC believes that it is possible to decrease obesity (OAC, 2014).
OAC provides a special training course for children and young people. The latter are usually overweight or obese due to the lack of exercises and physical activities in combination with poor eating habits. Parents should be a role model for their children. Parents, who eat healthy foods and are physically active, set an example to their children, which increases the chances that their children will do the same. Children ought to be encouraged to play outdoors rather than the computer or video games. Also, they are to be persuaded to drink more water rather than beverages, such as soft drinks, sugar-added packet juices, sports drinks, etc. OAC provides all these guidelines to the parents and their children (Wieting, 2008).
A systematic review
Healthcare institutes and public health organizations currently take different policies and steps to reduce obesity. Scientists performed various experiments and found some specific reasons, which can cause obesity. So, to get a fruitful result from our policy, we must be aware of certain bad habits and social factors.
According to the reports of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teenagers and school students' regular involvement in physical education has lowered by 30% since the past few years. Low levels of physical activity in childhood significantly contribute to the development of obesity in children. The main cause of low physical activity is the increasing obsession of children with video games and computers and neglecting the outdoor games and physical exercises. So, parents should notice and take care of their children's lifestyle. Through this policy, we can guide parents to give more attention to their children's physical activities. We can suggest parents to be strict sometimes so that they can force their children to do physical exercises instead of playing computer and video games (Koukourikos, Lavdaniti & Avramika, 2013).
One of the most import steps of the policy is to provide knowledge of healthy diet system. In the current world, people do not spend much time on food. Most of them prefer fast-food to save time. But such food may have high calories, which can increase the weight of the body. Studies have shown that high consumption of fast food, sugary drinks, high-calorie and fatty diet, low consumption of fruits, vegetables and healthy food, bad eating habits, the irregular timetable of meals, cause the childhood obesity. So, the above proposal may help people to teach a healthy way of life by following proper food habits. Also, it can guide people to understand the best timetable for eating different foods. Such timetable can help people to understand that eating high cholesterol foods in specific time of day may affect their bodies and cause obesity (Koukourikos, Lavdaniti & Avramika, 2013).
Heredity and societal factors
According to the research, American, African, Native American, and Hispanic children are more prone to obesity as compared to the children of other races. It has been estimated that 39% of Native American, 24% of African American, 24% of Mexican, and 27% of American children are at risk of being obese. Besides heredity, socioeconomic factors play a vital role in obesity. Moreover, the childhood obesity rate is much higher in the rich and developed countries as compared to the poor and developing nations. Modern societies with their easy and high access to supermarkets, fast food, comfortable transportation, and sedentary entertainment facilities, like TV, video games, computers, etc., are more prone to the obesity. By applying obesity-reducing policies we can teach people to avoid junk food or using transports every time. If people visit nearby places by walk rather than by transport and they eat homemade food instead of fast food, then they can develop healthy lifestyle (Kiess, Marcus & Wabitsch, 2004).
By applying proper control in mass media and advertisements we can reduce obesity in between people of various age groups. Through this policy, we can ask commercial companies to provide appropriate information about their products in their commercials instead of making fake attractive food commercials.
Research shows that mass media is one of the major reasons behind the increasing rates of obesity among the children in contemporary societies. Today, most of the fast food, soft drink, and candy companies market their products with the promotion of cartoon characters or popular movie stars, video games, toys, or lucrative offers, significantly influencing the behavior of the 5-14-year-old children. In accordance with the reports, children spend around 5.5 hours each day on watching television and they are exposed to almost 40,000 food advertisements annually. Because of such aggressive marketing, children are more prone to the risk of obesity disorder. So, we should control such unhealthy marketing through our policy (ChangeLab Solutions, 2014).
The membership of a team to promote my policy
We can promote our policy in our neighborhoods and in the society. To make the policy more efficient we can create an organization, which notices the healthy way of life. We can include members in the organization by inviting people to support our mission. It is possible to provide obesity awareness in the internet and local notice boards. After creating the organization, we can include responsible volunteers who would suggest people to avoid fast food or high cholesterol foods. Also, these members may organize public safety meetings in the society to give information about health consciousness and physical exercises. The members may circulate the message that childhood obesity has the long-ranging consequences, which not only damage health but also ruin the social life of children. People, who are suffering from obesity, are highly prone to cardiovascular diseases, have problems with blood pressure, suffer from diabetes, infertility, etc. The pressure of excessive weight causes immense stress on the joints of the knees and hips, leading to diseases such as osteoarthritis in old age (Kiess, Marcus & Wabitsch, 2004).
Moreover, we should guide the members and volunteers to teach people the proper way of healthy life before they share their knowledge in the society. We must notice that members are sharing accurate information about the disease; otherwise, they may hurt feelings of people and society.
In any policy, different stakeholders play important roles. So, in case of creating healthy society, all the members of healthcare organizations, local government, patients, clients and people of the society are responsible for developing a healthy society by reducing obesity. The main responsibility of stakeholders is to promote healthy food habits. Stakeholders must teach young generation about the drawbacks of unhealthy food habits. Parents should encourage their children to do exercises daily. Local health care organizations must put limitations to the mass media on the promotion of unhealthy foods (Health Effects of Obesity, 2013).
Stakeholders should understand that childhood obesity is a burning problem in the developed countries. The National Policy and Legal Analysis Network To Prevent Childhood Obesity should take effective roles in the society to prevent obesity. The applied policy should work to develop healthy society by providing proper food with appropriate calories to the children and young people. Healthcare organizations should try to develop their services by giving attention to the newborn babies. They must guide mothers to raise children in a healthy way by breastfeeding them during their early days of life.
Also, stakeholders should guide people to do physical activity, including exercises and yoga, which help individuals to maintain their weight. Their policy must encourage children to play outdoor games instead of sitting at home. Thus, stakeholders may help children to improve their health (Shah, 2010).
Strategies to develop policy
Law's relationship with obesity, poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle is quite complex and contested. However, governments around the world test various legal strategies of reducing risk factors in people's life. So, stakeholders of health-conscious policy should notice specific risk factors of obesity and force the state government to create an effective law against obesity. When the policy becomes law, people will become more aware of their health. Fast food restaurant chains will take more care about the food they provide to people. Such an act may design to provide strict health instructions to the food chains so that they sell only low-calorie and nutritious food. If any organization does not follow the instructions, then law and order should take proper actions to them.
Government acts should take actions to the reports of health organizations. For instance, according to the reports of Centre for Food Policy and Thames Valley University, the economical burden due to the obesity-related diseases is around $14 billion each year in the United Kingdom. These costs are made up of $2.4 billion in direct costs, i.e., through the costs of treatment and $11.6 billion in indirect costs, i.e., through loss of productivity due to disability and death (Shah, 2010). So, in such situation law and order department should take proper investigations of these diseases and their main reasons. They must take strict actions by law. Thus, government laws may help us to develop a healthy society (Obesity in the world - definitions, sources and methods, 2013).
Potential benefits and limitations of the proposal
By creating a fact sheet it will be easier to find out potential benefits and limitations of the proposal. The fact sheet will emphasize our key roles in the policy:
- The policy will give attention to the special strategies of weight loss programs for overweight people.
- It will guide people to do 30 minutes cardio exercises and yoga every day, which can help obese people to reduce their disease.
- The policy will work with government food board so that they can guide people to adopt a healthy way of life by eating healthy food.
- The policy will monitor weight regularly so that it can manage diet plans and weight loss programs.
- The policymakers will provide consultation for a nutritious diet. It will help people to understand how many calories and nutrition they need every day.
- The policy will give attention to the newborn babies and their mothers. Research shows that breastfed babies have less chances of overweight. So, the policy will encourage mothers to feed their newborn babies for at least six months.
- The policy will give special attention to the childhood obesity. Children are the future of the world. So, it is our responsibility to ensure their healthy way of life. Through this policy, we will teach children the interesting ways of outdoor exercises instead of sitting at home and playing computer games.
Although the policy is beneficial for most of the people, still it has some limitations:
- To promote a healthy way of life all over the society, we need a big amount of financial support. So, in some situations, it can create wastage of money.
- The main stakeholders of the policy are the common human beings, but in some cases, people do not care about future of the society. In such situations, it will be hard to fulfill the policy.
- To promote advantages of the healthy way of life we need a big group of workers or volunteers. If people do not come forward to work for the society, then it will be hard to circulate the goals of our policy. Thus it may create difficulties in fulfilling our policy.
An Evolution Plan
We can make an evaluation plan to promote a healthy way of life. To control obesity, we must make a step by step plan. First of all, we need to create a group of conscious people who are interested in working for a society to create a healthy environment. This group may include scientists, doctors, biologists and common people who can teach people the advantages of proper diet and exercise. These members may volunteer people to do physical exercises, yoga, etc.
I would like to propose this policy first in the United States. I have chosen the USA because at the moment the country has great health issues due to the obesity. Research shows that Americans are attracted to the fast-food, which is full of cholesterol and fat. As a result of fast-food eating habit, most of the people are having problems of overweight. So, the policy will try to control the promotions of fast-food chains. Through this policy, we will force the state government to control fast food restaurants and their fake commercials, which attract young people to unhealthy food and soon they become overweight. In American schools, I would like to promote healthy diet information broachers. Such broachers can guide children to follow a proper timetable of the meal. Also, we will perform healthcare seminars in American society and healthcare institutes, so that a couple or a pregnant woman can understand her responsibilities to a newborn baby. We will encourage mothers of newborn babies to breastfeed their babies for at least six months. Nevertheless, we will visit old age homes and organize a healthy exercise or yoga session for old people, so that they can keep themselves fit in old age.
Although the present policy plays an effective role in a child's life, still it has some drawbacks, too. First of all, if parents try to make some limitations to the children's diet, they may have some complex in their mind, which can even create psychological disorder. Secondly, too much physical exercise may create problems to a child's health (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2013).
From the above discussion, a conclusion can be drawn that obesity is the growing serious concern for most developed countries, especially the USA. Various studies have shown that the lifestyle is the major cause of childhood obesity. The disorder triggers various chronic diseases among children, which may lead to the death in early age. Health development policies, such as the NLPN, WHO, guide children and their parents to taking care of their health. Furthermore, parents should give attention to their children's health. Thus, it is possible for the entire world to live a healthy lifestyle.
- ChangeLab Solutions. (2014). Childhood obesity. Retrieved from http://changelabsolutions.org/childhood-obesity.
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- Wieting, J. M. (2008). Cause and Effect in Childhood Obesity: Solutions for a National Epidemic. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 108 (10), 545-552. Retrieved from http://www.jaoa.org