Population Health Improvement Plan for Obesity

1120 words | 4 page(s)

It is generally acknowledged that a problem with obesity begins in childhood and is also affected by a person’s socioeconomic status. When obesity is a problem for an entire community, it is likely that the people who live in that community are of lower socioeconomic status, eat a great deal of junk and fast food, and do not have access to reasonably priced fresh fruits and vegetables (Simmons, Movoa, Bell, De Courten, Schaaf, Schultz, & Swinburn, 2009). In order to reduce obesity levels in such communities, it is necessary for the community to work together to make more reasonably priced healthy foods available to residents, to educate residents about the importance of eating healthy foods and exercising, and of the perils of obesity (Simmons et al., 2009). This can be accomplished in part through the establishment of public-private partnerships between community government officials and local food providers (Page & Campbell, 2014). Incentives can be offered to people with the ability to provide fresh produce to a community—there could, for example, be tax incentives offered for lowering the price of the produce in poorer communities (Page & Campbell, 2014).

Aside from eating more health foods, exercise plays a very important part in preventing and reducing obesity (Simmons et al., 2009). In today’s schools, there is not always funding for regular physical education programs, which used to be a staple in every school day. Parents and school administrators must address local government officials on the importance of regular exercise time for students during the school day, even if the time is not structured. Students could be given a free period to run around outside or in a gymnasium or play a game that involves physical activity. This would allow them not only to expend energy but to burn excess calories, which is an important part of battling obesity.

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Education is one of the most important factors in both preventing and battling obesity. Students should be educated during school hours about the importance of eating nutritious foods instead of junk or fast food and of getting regular exercise (Simmons et al., 2009). Parents as well need to be educated about what they and their children eat. Parents should be taught how to buy the most nutritious food for the least amount of money, as finances are a large part of parents buying calorie-dense, non-nutritious foods for their families (Simmons et al., 2009). With the public-private partnerships in place, more affordable and nutritious foods should be available in communities that are taking advantage of such situations, but parents must still be made aware of the importance of changing the way they shop for food (Simmons et al., 2009).

Community meetings should be held on a regular basis to discuss the importance of eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise. In any community that already has community meetings, these topics can easily be added to the agenda (Borys, Richard, du Plessis, Harper, & Levy, 2016). In communities that do not have regular meetings, community leaders should institute them. These meetings should be open to all community members as well as the community leaders and local government officials. Strategies to promote more healthy eating and increased exercise should be discussed, along with the results of any partnerships which have been created with food providers in the area to provide nutritious food at lower costs to the socioeconomically disadvantaged (Borys et al., 2016).

The most important aspect in creating a population health improvement plan to fight obesity is to ensure that the entire community becomes involved. Residents of higher socioeconomic status might be able to help in the procurement of more nutritious foods, while residents of lower socioeconomic status can be educated about the problem with consuming a diet high in empty calories and saturated fats (Borys et al., 2016). The goal is for the entire community to work together to battle the obesity that is present in the community—this is not a problem that discriminates against anyone. While people of lower socioeconomic status might be more at risk due to their inability to afford more expensive, nutritious food, people of higher socioeconomic status also run the risk of obesity simply by overeating and not exercising. Therefore, every member of an affected community can benefit from learning more about healthy eating and exercise (Hillier-Brown, Bambra, Cairns, Kasim, Moore, & Summerbell, 2014).

It can be very effective for several communities to band together to educate the citizenry of their communities about an issue such as obesity (Hiller-Brown, 2014). If one community finds an effective solution to the issue, they should share their solution with surrounding communities until everyone in the area is involved. The more local government officials and school administrators become involved, the more likely that information will reach the largest number of people, both children and adults (Hiller-Brown, 2014).

If the level of obesity is higher in one area of the country than another, it should be examined what differs in terms of nutritional factors and exercise trends. For instance, if one neighborhood has a higher obesity rate than a neighboring community, it should be examined what differs in their eating habits and exercise habits. These factors could determine the difference in obesity rates between the two communities.

As obesity often begins in childhood, the involvement of schools is integral in the battle against obesity. Especially among lower socioeconomic children who receive free or reduced-cost lunch at school, the content of those lunches should be low-calorie and nutritious. This is especially important if lunch is likely to be the only healthy meal they receive all day. Hopefully with the education of parents and children alike about the importance of eating healthy, high-nutrient meals, this will not be the case, but when an anti-obesity campaign first begins, it takes time for the pieces to fall into place. The battle against obesity cannot be won in a day or a week; it takes many people working together for a long time to turn the obesity epidemic around.

  • Borys, J-M., Richard, P., du Plessis, H, R., Harper, P., & Levy, E. (Jun 2016 Supplement 2). Tackling health inequities and reducing obesity prevalence: The EPODE community- based approach. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, 68, 35-38.
  • Hillier-Brown, F. C., Bambra, C. L., Cairns, J-M, Kasim, A, Moore, H. J., & Summerbell, C. D. (Dec 2014). A systematic review of the effectiveness of individual, community and societal-level interventions at reducing socio-economic inequalities in obesity among adults. International Journal of Obesity, 38(12), 1483-1490.
  • Page, T. S., & Campbell, L. (Fal 2014). Public-private partnerships: Multidisciplinary plans to reduce child and adolescent obesity. Texas Public Health Journal, 66(4), 23-25.
  • Simmons, A., Movoa, H. M., Bell, A. C., De Courten, M., Schaaf, D., Schultz, J., & Swinburn, B. A. (Dec 2009). Creating community action plans for obesity prevention using the ANGELO (Analysis Grid for Elements Linked to Obesity) framework. Health Promotion International, 24(4), 311-324.

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