Obesity is a major challenge that is continually rising among people in the world. It has been declared an epidemic and lethal. It has continually been addressed in a bid to prevent it. In this essay, the problems associated with obesity are highlighted together with the measures that have been taken in the United States to treat and prevent it. Therefore, the bodies that are responsible for this have also been identified together with their objectives. Data collection methods in the study are also provided.
Health Campaigns: Obesity
Obesity refers to massive weight gain due to adoption of an unhealthy diet which results in health related problems. Over the recent past years, the number of obese people, both adults and children, has been on the rise causing what is being referred to as the obesity epidemic, which is a major crisis in the public health sector. It is a major crisis since the more people become obese, the more they are exposed to major health challenges such as cancer, diabetes, and major cardiovascular conditions. In the United States, obesity is believed to be common among certain ethnic groups and especially among women (Gard & Wright, 2005). However, it is bound to change since many people all over the world are largely affected by this crisis. Studies conducted by experts have shown that the number of obese adults in the United States is 31%. According to Griffin (2012), this figure is steadily rising as people are eating more and exercising less. People are not very cautious about what they eat nowadays: it has resulted in this increase which is not good.
Due to the increased numbers of obese people, the issue has become a national concern with major national campaigns aimed at creating awareness about it for improving people’s health. The major objectives of these campaigns are preventing and treating obesity on a national scale greatly reducing the number of obese people. It is a major challenge since losing weight and eating right is a personal decision, which affects the activities of certain sectors such as restaurants and fast food joints. They have to be advised to sell healthier food which may not be effective since most people prefer high fat foods which are easy and quick to prepare.
The obesity treatment and prevention campaigns are conducted by various agencies tasked with this objective. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a division known as Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO) tasked with implementation of strategies and policies that will provide healthy food and living for everyone in order to treat and prevent obesity. Another initiative set up to help in weight management by the Kaiser Permanente (KP) was Weight Management Initiative (WMI) which was officially launched in January 2002. Its main objective was to provide a good and easily understandable weight management program which was population-based. The World Health Organization (WHO) also has initiatives aimed at treating and preventing obesity internationally. According to the public Health Association of Australia (2010), the World Health Association ranked obesity as one of the ten major conditions that require to be focused on, and its prevention is a key interest, especially in the 21st century. The American Medical Association also held a National Health Summit mainly on obesity which was aimed at discussing the problems linked to obesity and come up with a program that will help in prevention of this condition.
From all studies of the various initiatives launched to deal with the problem of obesity, the major cause of this condition has been concluded to be unhealthy eating and lack of exercise by the patients. Therefore, it has called for creation of strategies aimed at sensitizing people on the importance of healthy eating and the dangers of unhealthy food. People do not watch their portions as they eat which results in eating too much food with high calorie levels causing putting on weight gain. In addition, there is hardly any exercise done, therefore, the excess fat in the body is not burned but stored instead. With such behavior, the number of the obese is continually rising in many areas around the country.
Just like other preventive measures and education on other problems, obesity requires to be talked about openly for people to be aware of its causes, consequences, and ways of its prevention. This service is possible through the health care centers where people can receive education on the issue, which will help them to make right decisions on their lifestyle. Major health initiatives have, therefore, called for the reform in the health sectors so that they allocate programs concerning obesity as a major problem among others such as smoking. Adoption of such systems will be a major step towards the prevention and treatment of obesity.
Labeling of food products and fast food with the correct ingredients list has been proposed in the United States in order to provide consumers with comprehensive information about the nutritional value of products which will aid them in making decisions about what they are to consume. The labeling should provide cautions if there is a risk involved considering the available product. Adoption of such a system has done well in the elimination of the obesity problem, since the educated consumers are able to differentiate the healthy and unhealthy food. In New York City where labeling is mandatory, there has been change in consumer behavior regarding their food preferences. It shows positive results for the labeling model which will help in achievement of the objectives.
Another proposed strategy to deal with this problem was the elimination of TFAs (Trans Fatty Acids) in restaurant meals since labeling is not possible on such products. It was proposed in 2006 by the New York City Department of Health And Mental Hygiene, which received great criticism (Hurt, 2010). Adoption of this strategy would help to greatly reduce the risks of getting health complications. The impact of this strategy is yet to be reported on, but health experts state that it is a major model in the prevention and treatment of obesity.
In the United States, management of obesity has also been through implementation of such systems as high taxation on soft drinks with high calorie content. It will, in turn, result in high price for the products reducing their consumption, which was the prime objective of the system. Another strategy was to reduce the availability of such soft drinks, especially for teenagers. It was suggested to be done through restriction of vending machines in schools where the young people mainly access these drinks. It was a model targeted at dealing with obesity among the youth. With other healthier options for the drinks being 20% cheaper, more consumption is likely to happen bringing about a healthier generation.
Another strategy proposed by the Public Health Service (PHS) was the provision of healthy eating guidelines for the American citizens. They suggested that the exercise is conducted and overseen by the public and private agencies so that they could help in the quest for obesity prevention and control. With the relevant information on healthy living and eating, the cases of obesity are likely to reduce as people will have healthy eating habits. The PHS also advocated provision of physical education in schools with the aim of reducing the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases which are caused by obesity.
The main groups of people affected by the epidemic are the young and older adults. The target group for the objectives set by the initiatives concerning prevention of obesity are mainly the younger and older adults. They are the highly affected by this issue because they do not pay much attention to their eating habits. Mainly, it is because they are occupied with a series of activities that make them consume fast food rather than homemade food. The young adults are mainly in school and therefore, cannot manage to make their own food. The adults are mainly at work places and are not in a position to make their own food. They rely on the available one, which may not be of great nutritional value. Thus, the models discussed are targeted at the two groups of people and seek to help them prevent and treat obesity.
Statistical methods of data collection are used in the study of the obesity causes and measures to reduce it. The number of students who consume the fat food and drinks is collected in the country’s major education facilities to come up with the right observation (Wang & Beydoun, 2007). Comparison of the recorded data from the past helped to show the statistics where the change of behavior is detected. Surveys on youth and adults are also essential in coming up with the reports on the behavioral changes. It could be done through personal interview where the interviewee gives information on his/her eating habits. After gathering this information one will be able to properly analyze the trends concerning the eating habits of the target groups. Through these methods relevant information will be collected and proper conclusions reached.
Obesity is a worldwide health problem with great negative effects. Therefore, it is important to adapt proper eating habits that will provide good nutritional value to the bodies. It will significantly help in the prevention of obesity. All nations should come up with programs aimed at educating on diet matters to ensure that the citizens live healthy lives. Proper health education should be spread for everyone to be well informed.