Policy Brief on Obesity
Policy Brief on Obesity
Obesity is one of the issues in health, which has led to global implications due to the negative aspects associated with the issue. Obesity is a health condition, which is attributed to excess body fat, which has a negative effect on the health of the individuals (Anderson-Fye & Brewis, 2017). Obesity is determined by measuring the body mass index of individuals, which is calculated by dividing an individual’s weight by their square of their height. An individual is said to be obese when his/her body mass index is over 30kg/m2 (Anderson-Fye ; Brewis, 2017). Obesity has been attributed to contribute to the development of certain chronic illness, which includes diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases (Anderson-Fye ; Brewis, 2017). Obesity has been attributed to poor lifestyles where individuals engage in unhealthy eating behaviors, genetic susceptibility, and lack of exercise. Individuals suffering from obesity require more food to maintain their increase body mass, which increases the risks associated with the condition (Anderson-Fye ; Brewis, 2017).
In effectively addressing obesity, it is important that measures are implemented based on the root cause of this health issue. Obesity is mainly attributed to poor eating habits and lack of physical activity (World Health Organization, 2018). The first recommendation to address obesity will be health education on safe eating habits. This may include foods in low calories and the avoidance of junk foods, which have high levels of unhealthy fats and sugars (World Health Organization, 2018). The number of individuals affected by this health issue has continued to increase all over the world due to globalization and the increased production of unhealthy food to cater for the rising population across the world. Supportive environments can also be provided in communities across the world, which will be useful in shaping individual’s choices, which include choosing healthier foods as well as participating in regular physical activities (World Health Organization, 2018).
The most important aspect in preventing and managing obesity is individual responsibility since individuals have the power to choose what they eat and what activities they are willing to participate in (CDC, 2018). This makes it important for the implementation of support systems to help individuals in applying the determined recommendations. Healthcare facilities and other parties who are involved in this process can use evidence-based practices, which have been proven to work in different regions since not all strategies may work on all regions. This can also include the involvement of food production industries, which may have a high impact on the prevention and management of obesity (CDC, 2018).
Obesity has been a health issue historically associated with the rich due to their ability to access adequate food supply. However, this is not true since the health issue is also affecting the poor in different ways (Vigarello, 2013). Due to the globalization and industrialization, there have been technological advances, which are aimed at increasing food production to cover the increasing population across the world. The traditional and natural forms of food production are unable to cater for the increasing population, which has led to the food industry to develop new ways of food production (Vigarello, 2013). Most of these new systems have led to increased food supply with a majority of the foods produced being unhealthy for consumption due to the processes involved. With an increased food supply and different food varieties in the market, individuals are now able to access any foods of their choice, which has led to increased body size contributing to obesity (Vigarello, 2013).
Globalization has also led to the creation of different jobs, which require little or no exercise at all. This is also evident in the transportation sector where individuals do not have to walk to get to their jobs or their homes (Vigarello, 2013). This has led to the increased prevalence of obesity. On a social aspect, being fat was historically associated with a good life and contentment, which led to a majority of individuals increasing their body mass which later faced criticism and stigmatization based on aesthetic reasons (Vigarello, 2013). This was also based on the increased mortality rate, which was associated with obesity. Obesity affects different age groups, which include children and adults with a high prevalence in developed countries due to the increased food production, and globalization, which has reduced the rate of physical activities in these regions (Vigarello, 2013).
In developing countries and poor communities, there are low levels of obesity due to the limited food supply and infrastructure where majority of the individuals engage in regular exercises as they walk and carry out certain tasks in their jobs (Anderson-Fye & Brewis, 2017). There are major agencies responsible for enforcement of public health related to obesity, which include the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (World Health Organization, 2018). The World Health Organization has implemented strategies meant to support healthy diets and increased regular physical activity by involving all stakeholders in the health sector at all levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a role of ensuring that effective policies and environmental strategies are implemented to ensure everyone adopts healthy eating habits (CDC, 2018).
There are many efforts currently implemented to address the issue of obesity across the globe. However, with these strategies in place, the rate of obesity has continued to increase which implies that more has to be done to address this issue (CDC, 2018). Most strategies are based on addressing the issue of food consumption and increased physical activity, which entirely relies on the individuals since this cannot be forced on individuals. The best strategy would involve health education on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, which should be implemented at a young age to shape the behavior of individuals (CDC, 2018). This is because it is difficult to use this strategy on adults who may not have the time and resources to implement these strategies effectively. Health education from a young age will shape the minds of individuals to make healthy choices and adopt this lifestyle as part of their daily lives, which have a more positive outcome (CDC, 2018).
The collaboration with food production industries is a good strategy. However, the main reason for the food production industry is to make financial gains, which may be affected by some of the implemented strategies (World Health Organization, 2018). Strict measures can be implemented after a careful analysis on harmful foods, which should be regulated by accredited bodies. It is the responsibility of all governments to address health issues in their respective countries since some of the health issues incur many costs to the government in managing the conditions (World Health Organization, 2018). With the governments implementing strategies meant to regulate food production and advertisements, the spread of unhealthy foods can be limited. The government can also support healthy food production by providing incentives to food production companies, which will motivate the companies to adopt healthy food production (World Health Organization, 2018).
Due to the negative impacts attributed to obesity, it is important for all stakeholders involved to collaborate in the implementation of effective strategies to address the issue (Karson, 2017). The implemented measures should be reviewed and improved to provide positive outcomes. They should also focus on health education as this has a positive impact on preventing and managing obesity since it helps in shaping the minds of individuals towards healthy lifestyles (Karson, 2017). Obesity should not be neglected as it has been done in some countries as it is attributed to the development of other health issues and so it is important to address this health issue (Karson, 2017). The government should also provide support to all stakeholders involved in the management of this health issue, which is important by enabling them to access some of the necessary resources required in this process (Karson, 2017).
Anderson-Fye, E. P., & Brewis, A. (2017). Fat planet: Obesity, culture, and symbolic body capital. Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press; Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Overweight and obesity. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.htmlKarson, J. (2017). How can the obesity epidemic be controlled? San Diego, CA: Reference Point Press.Vigarello, G. (2013). The metamorphoses of fat: A history of obesity. New York: Columbia University Press.
World Health Organization. (2018). Nutrition. Controlling the global obesity epidemic. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/obesity/en/World Health Organization. (2018). Obesity and overweight. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight