Community Health: Obesity

Obesity is one of the greatest health challenges the world is facing today. The disease is more common in the community as one in every five people is obese and is causing more unnecessary illnesses and early death. The problem has been escalated by intense marketing of unhealthy foods in addition to inadequate knowledge on healthy diets. Moreover, obesity mitigates the quality of life by inhibiting physical activity thus enhancing social isolation. Further, the cost of the disease through elevated health costs and diminishing effectiveness in the community are very high.

Obesity is a disease in which fat accumulates in the human body until it adversely affects the health of the individual. One is considered obese if their Body Mass Index, BMI is 30 Kg/m2 or greater (Ogden, Carroll, Kit & Flegal, 2012). The disease is considered a health concern since it is not only affecting the adult population, but also children. Moreover, it is linked to type 2 diabetes, which is weighing heavily on the health care cost of the people in the community, in terms of hospitalization, medications and medical care (Whitlock et al., 2005). If the problem is not contained soon, the obesity levels in the community will rise exorbitantly. Therefore, feasible community collaborative interventions to address the gaps in care and services for obesity are needed.

Short-Term and Long-Term Goals and Outcome Objectives.

Instituting an effort to prevent obesity is critically important in both the physical, economic and social health of the community members. The recommended goals are categorized into short-term, spanning one year and long-term, which will take three years. Both short-term and long-term goals will commence soon and the plan will be revised annually to ascertain any opportunities or changed circumstances.

 

The short-term goals are;

  1. Develop a plan and evaluation measures for assessment and recommendations to boost nutrition and physical activity involvement within the community.
  2. Develop plans to make the nutrition-based education, trainings and resource opportunities for health care professionals to promote the prevention of obesity.
  3. Highlight obesity prevention and treatment for community members who have developed social psychological problems.
  4. Develop a plan to have healthcare providers begin early intervention through routinely keeping track of evidence-based obesity measures and nutrition improvement resources.
  5. Find the best practices and develop resources for employers to boost physical activity at jobsites.

The long-term goals are;

  1. Increase the number of people walking or riding bicycles to work or school by 10 percent, within the first two years.
  2. Improve the physical activity opportunities available to the community members by the first two years.
  3. Increase the number of eateries that sell healthier foods, appropriately sized portions as well as mention the caloric information on menus by the third year.
  4. Work with insurance companies to institute health plans that encourage community members to achieve a healthy lifestyle, by the third year.

The outcome objectives would be to reduce the number of people with obesity by 80 percent in the three year period. Moreover, positive changes will be recorded for people’s weight status, diet, activity levels, waist line measurement and emotional well-being.

Community-Based and Community Participatory Interdisciplinary Plan

The program’s initiative will be undertaken by the State’s department of Health. A community wellness plan involving public and private partners will be formed as a council to help attain the goals of the program. The council will give the community members direction, share information and head the evaluation exercise related to the plan. Various stakeholders, such as the public health agencies, private developers, schools and community groups will work collaboratively to ensure health effects in the program. Incentives will be given to promote healthy behaviors, for instance participation in physical activity.

In the jobsites, employee recognition will be effected in the first year of the program to encourage working community members to participate in the program’s physical activity initiative. This will go hand-in-hand with medical plan enhancements, for instance weight loss program coverage, with insurance companies to charge lower premiums to community members participating in the programs. Employers will encourage their staff to use stairs instead of elevators, bikes to work, staff gym as well as shower facilities. Conversely, schools will be encouraged to provide opportunities for students and staff to eat a healthy diet and engage in physical activity (Leslie, Lean, Baillie & Hankey, 2002). 

By the second year, the community will actively promote healthy choices in hospitality, restaurants, vending machines and shops and recreational opportunities, for example promoting out-of-hours social activities, use of community leisure activities and walks. Moreover, employers will be encouraged to give days off for workers to participate in community work. During the third year, financial incentives will be extended to community members to encourage them to participate in the program. Financial rewards will be given to the community members who participate actively in promoting the success of the program through their participation to reduce obesity levels in the community.

The appropriate media platforms for the program to be used will be radio and internet since most of the community members own radios and smart phones. The local radio presenter will be used to promote the program at a cost of $10,000. Moreover, poster and banners will be printed and posted in all public places to promote the program. 

Process and Outcome Evaluation Techniques

To improve evaluation outcomes, evaluation will be a crucial part of a partnership among sponsors and participants. The evaluation tools will elicit narrative responses not consistently reported across the community sites. Program evaluators and administrators will design tracking tools to address the data design issues to elicit short and concise answers. One of the tools to be utilized is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Evaluation Working Group website.

Good outcomes will rely on clearly defined evaluation and project goals. The evaluation and outcome analysis will be built in from the project’s inception with programs and participant buy-in of the evaluation. The process will entail indicators to illustrate changes in outcomes based on interventions. The questions on the program will involve the length of the intervention for each participating group, the delivery sessions, the target population, the content, the delivery method, deliverer, as well as the unit of delivery (Kennedy et al., 2005).

 

Health Policy Development

Laws and policies promoting healthy food and limiting access to unhealthy food are very crucial in addressing the obesity problem in the community. As such, the U.S Department of Agriculture provides the minimum nutritional standards for breakfast and lunch programs to bring them at par with the nutritional science on health diet for a population. Further, the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 provides requirements for retail food establishments and vending machines to disclose the calorie content on menus and other nutritional information for consumers to know the food’s content before they can order (Whitlock et al., 2005). The program will adhere to the federal law’s minimum protections for breastfeeding working mothers to ensure that children get the best healthy eating start in live that they can.

The policies and intervention will be presented to the mayor and the community leaders in the program committee, first through emails and later through personal presentation by the program coordinator.

The strengths and opportunities the community enjoys to promote the program include availability of healthcare workers to provide targeted information and advice on diet, physical activities as well as weight reduction programs. Moreover, the healthcare professionals will provide personalized healthy lifestyle plans for community members to boost their health and prevent obesity. The program will focus on long-term lifestyle changes rather than a short-term, quick-fix approach. Moreover, the public will be encouraged to keep a diary on their health progress.

 

Leave a Reply