Prevention of Childhood Obesity

Abstract

The community under analysis refers to Minnesota district where the fieldwork has been performed. The city is the center of the state and its childhood obesity statistics are currently rising. The city area size is 84,402 square miles, including water and it takes the 12th position on the list of the U.S. cities (City Data, 2014). Minnesota spreads 406 miles from north to south and its east-western extension equals 358 miles (City Data). The length of the city boundaries is 1783 miles with the Crow Wing County being its geographic center.

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The population of Minnesota for 2013 totals 5,379,179, taking the 21st position in the United States. The statistics demonstrate a 1.4% increase since 2010 (World Population Statistics). The population density in Minnesota is 67.1 individuals for the square mile, which is the 31st result in the country (World Population Statistics, 2013). According to Census Bureau (2010), white people total 85%, African Americas constitute 5.2%, Asians cover 4%, Hispanics and Latino also reach 4.7% and other nationalities amount to 3% (Admin Minnesota, 2010).

Healthcare institutions in the region express great concern with the problem of obesity and excessive weight rates among children because it has a negative impact on the social and cultural environment. The problem of obesity is associated with significant lifestyle change among people who live in an environment where food was scarce (Admin Minnesota, 2010). A physically demanding working environment makes people less concerned with healthy food intake, resulting in low nutrition and metabolism and digestive system problems. The greatest threats can also involve infectious diseases, such as measles and polio (Minnesota Department of Health, 2008). Currently, there is also a list of chronic diseases, among which obesity is the major problem that can cause changes in human behavior, such as physical inactivity, tobacco use, and unhealthy eating.

Discussion

The program Health People 2020 considers it essential for individuals to lead a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activities, good nutrition, and body weight control. In such a way, it is possible to decrease the emergence of serious health disorders, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and cancer (Minnesota Department of Health, 2008). A healthy diet and regular exercise will help people to prevent the risk of excess weight.

Different statistics show that Americans are not in the habit of eating healthy food; they are not physically active, which is important for sustaining proper health and body weight. It has been discovered that adults do not consume enough vegetables. As a result of this misconduct, the nation is currently encountering a significant rise in obesity. What is more threatening is that 1 in 6 children suffer from obesity, leading to risk conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Therefore, Health People 2020 is working on programs and projects that would restore the Americans’ enthusiasm to go in for sports and consume more fruits and vegetables.

Minnesota Department of Health introduces comprehensive prevention initiatives to reach people and their social, policy, and physical settings by means of strategies that embrace the policy, educational, and public change. There should be a specific social-ecological dimension which acknowledges the need to change individuals’ behaviors and patterns. The first step to reconsidering awareness of the individuals is the response to their knowledge, confidence, attitudes, and skills, so as to engage them in healthy behavior. Organizations and institutions in Minnesota have discovered that intervening in various environments and employing a range of strategies has been a relevant approach for controlling and guiding initiatives reducing tobacco use in the state. With reliance on this experience, Minnesota’s physical and social environments must also be changed to sustain healthy eating and physical activity for Minnesota.

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The Population of Interest Affected by the Health Concern

The target audience for the analysis refers to the children of the age from 6 till 12. This audience has been chosen because children at this age start growing at a fast rate and all their biological functions also develop rapidly. At the age of 12, most children undergo the puberty period, which influences their psychological state, which in turn has a potent impact on their eating habits.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the majority of children suffer from obesity. In 2010, about 12% of boys and 6% of girls suffered from obesity. Therefore, children face a serious problem of excess weight with social and health consequences that further influence their lives (Minnesota Department of Health, 2014). The increased rate of obesity among children in Minnesota is associated with health inequity in the region. In particular, health disparities are often associated with the social environment and many other aspects of community activities (Minnesota Department of Health, 2014). In particular, health disparity refers to the difference in disease rates and health status indicators among children with various social and ethnic backgrounds.

Minnesota is considered to be among the states with a sharp decrease in obesity levels, particularly among low-income children. The Department of Health has cooperated with school districted and healthcare providers to promote improved nutrition. It also worked with parents to encourage breastfeeding, which leads to improvements in child health, as well as conducted campaigns for improving newborn and prenatal health.

It has been counted that the percentage of obesity among Minnesota children from low-income families decreased from 13.4% to 12.6% in 3 years (StarTribune Kid’s Health, 2011). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevent has participated in other activities and has arranged partnerships with community groups to introduce changes and promote active living and healthy lifestyle.

The Community Resources and Partners Currently Involved with the Health Concern

It should be stressed that the Minnesota Department of Health makes everything possible to support healthy eating endeavors and provide the new capacity for addressing policies that can reduce obesity rates. The division also provides support and implementation of technical and evaluation guide to the region, community to promote environmental changes and ensure educational opportunity for obese children. The main goal of the healthcare organization is to improve physical activity, introduce new dietary habits and reduce the obesity rates by organizing new settings, such as new hospitals, child care facilities, schools, and workplaces.

Diagnosis Aspects of the Health Concern

Although the department of health makes efforts at improving the social environment and promoting healthy eating habits, there are still many gaps in their policies, such as lack of educational programs, absence of knowledge on dieting, and availability of consultants for parents who should encourage their children to eat healthy foods.

In order to understand the gaps in policies, attention should be given to the standards for food and beverage policies in schools. It has been reported that foods served at school should be competitive (Fas in Fat, 2013). However, these standards do not correspond with the norms related to obesity prevention programs. The interim also refers to the standards that are enacted in 2014-2015 (Fas in Fat, 2013). In this respect, the government should pay greater attention to the marketing demand to provide changes and makes clients more attracted to healthy foods. Fresh water is the key factor affecting a healthy lifestyle and metabolism among children. Therefore, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention should care about this issue.

Health assessment in schools, along with the screening tools, should also be presented to help communities and schools evaluate the extent to which children adhere to the established norms of obesity control and prevention. Health education requirements should spread to parents who must educate their children and teach them to develop healthy eating habits.

Outcomes Identification

With regard to the above-presented concerns and challenges, several stages should be introduced to address health concerns apart from those which have already been worked out. The government should take greater control of obesity which should include creating policies for introducing new programs and training both for children and teachers. Education is the foundation for improving the awareness of children and parents in managing obesity. A healthy lifestyle should become a sort of brand for parents and children. In such a manner, it will be possible to attract children and make them consume healthy foods.

Second, the Minnesota department should also pay attention to the availability of fast food at schools and beyond. This is of particular concern to such fast food networks, which also restrict access to junk foods. Hence, both parents and children, along with governmental support, should teach children that healthy food is currently a new fashionable trend that can surpass other brands. Healthy people have greater professional opportunities in life, such as physical aptness, greater possibilities to travel and live a longer life. Children should realize the potential health consequences of eating foods that are saturated with animal fat.

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Planning Nursing Actions to Improve the Health Concern

The collaborative efforts of nurses and healthcare professionals should embrace many areas of influence. These areas should include private and public influence, social marketing, disease and health event investigation, policy development, and enforcement. Further, efficient information exchange is another aspect that should be considered in the struggle for obesity prevention among the population. Third, nurses should take into consideration both community-based and individual-based level. System-based action should refer to the networks of schools, offices, non-profit organizations, and other establishments that would take care of the problem.

How Nurses Might Work with the Community

In order to improve health concerns, the nurses should organize an action plan on measuring the risk of childhood obesity and introducing new perspectives for the measurement system. The main purpose of collecting information and its analysis is confined to the necessity of promoting a baseline measure, as well as measuring trends and progress in reducing childhood obesity within a certain time period.

There are several issues related to childhood obesity action plans, such as sensitivity, data collection process, use of surveillance information, and privacy and security. Further, the use of screening data refers to the identification of youth-at-risk, as well as the expansion of new health information to parents. Identifying the responsibilities distributed among organizations should also be introduced to understand what categories of children should be considered. Financial issues must be taken into consideration. This is of particular concern to evaluating security funding and costs for gathering information, conducting the screening, and ensuring youth follow-up. Finally, developing and sustaining infrastructure implies implementing activities that focus on the necessity of introducing staff, resources, data management techniques, and other components for proper management of childhood obesity action plan

Potential Public and Private Partnerships

The cooperation between private and public areas is indispensable because it enhances the policies and stages of implementing a childhood obesity action plan. To begin with, the task of private organizations is to promote policies introduced by the government. For instance, fast-food networks are private property sector should come up with food standards and deliver healthy food. It should also impose restrictions on children who should be prohibited to consume food.

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The Objective(s) for Implementing These Activities

There are three major objectives of the childhood prevent plan:

  1. Promoting new education among children and their parents on the role of a healthy diet in professional, social, and psychological development. Children should learn more about the usefulness of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
  2. Promoting new food standards in the country and taking greater control of the agricultural sphere that should supply the population with fresh products.
  3. Social marketing change should rely on new concepts and advertising brands that would promote a healthy diet.

Timeline

The program will be prepared for 6 months:

  1. Introducing lectures and disciplines on a healthy diet in schools – 4 weeks. The course should be fixed and should be introduced to children from the 3rd grade.
  2. Introducing nurses’ intervention and assessment tools – the next 2 months. The task of the nurses is to check on the current state of children and their attitude to junk food. Parents should also be controlled in their educational endeavors.
  3. Public activation – promoting new networks of healthy food that would attract children and persuade them that healthy food is trendy and fashionable.

Evaluation

The evaluation tools will involve both qualitative and quantitative aspects. The qualitative tools will introduce interviews and surveys that would allow the researcher to define parents’ and their children’s attitude to healthy food, physical activities, and nutrition. Second, the quantitative aspects will refer to statistics on demographics, BMI percentage among children before and after the plan implementation. The statistics should correlate with the qualitative information. Teachers and instructors should also participate in interviews to make sure that their tasks and responsibilities in the program are understood.

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Conclusion

At national, state, and local efforts, the government should be able to clearly define the duties and responsibilities among the major actors of the childhood obesity prevention reform. The Department of Minnesota should pay greater attention to the educational dimension, as well as the social marketing dilemma which serves as a powerful tool of manipulation among children. The target audience should be persuaded that a healthy diet and physical activities are currently in trend. Therefore, famous fast-food chains should also take an active part in the program to reduce the risk of excess weight and obesity. In particular, they should change the menu and philosophy and make children care about their physical form.

The role of nursing and government in promoting a healthy lifestyle is as influential as the readiness of the population to accept the new objectives of the plan. At this point, the communication and interaction contribute to increased awareness among the population, making it more sensitive to the problem of excess weight and obesity because it can have serious consequences for health, such as the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, and many other complications. Therefore, the childhood obesity prevention plan in Minnesota should be constantly modernized and improved.

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