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Policymaker Visit About the Childhood Obesity Problem

Policymaker Visit

The most important result of the policy-making visit was a successful contact establishing with the policymaker. It appeared that the person is also concerned about the problem since she has the close ones affected by the negative outcomes of the problem. Besides, the identification of common positions in a row of areas helped our productive communication. As a result, I received positive feedback from the policymaker. However, she suggested elaborating more practically oriented initiatives, which could be introduced in the school and home settings. The next step in the process is the subsequent consultation session aiming to eliminate variances in our vision of the childhood obesity problem and preventive strategies. Finally, we agreed to collaborate in the policy future advocacy in the local school. The policymaker proposed her help in the acquisition of materials for the training workshops for children of the age groups of 11 to 13 years. The meeting was a success since a common vision of the policy issue was developed.

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Utilized Materials

The problem of childhood obesity is the key health problem American society has faced in the current period (Johnson, 2014). The problem has such far-reaching implications and has reached such magnitude that its prevention has become the U. S. healthcare priority (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDCP], 2013).

While global companies gain billions of profits out of selling unhealthy meals, the young generation has fallen a victim to the health endpoints associated with the extra weight (The weight of the nation, 2012). For that reason, there is a need to launch a number of federal programs aiming to change youngsters’ eating habits and their lifestyle in general (McBride, 2010).

The issue has already been addressed in the government initiatives towards healthy meals at school and active participation in sports by young people but the problem still remains unsolved (“Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Prevention Program”, 2012; Schwartz & Story, 2009). Therefore, it requires more time and effort to perform a deeper analysis of its real sources and address the negative phenomena related to it. It is not excluded that the problem resolving will demand firm legislative support apart from the currently existing one to establish the regulations against advertising and selling high fat and high sugar meals to children.

Being a specialist in the area of mental health nursing, which does not seem to have a direct connection with the health issue under consideration, I have faced its negative impact in my daily practice. From day to day, I work with patients having a variety of mental disorders originating as a result of their extra weight. The negative mental implications of childhood obesity are depression, social anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder, to list just a few of these problems. The actual cause of mental health endpoints our clients develop is their discontent with their appearance that they develop at an early age as their psyche is forming. As a result of their negative feelings about their body size, these individuals suffer from alienation, tantrums, and suicidal ideas.

Extra weight throws children overboard from fulfilling life and confronts them with health issues, inability to participate in normal social activities, discrimination, and assaults from their peers (Sharma, 2012).

Utilized Materials. Empirical Evidence Analysis

The issue of childhood obesity is not new for researchers as well as public organizations and healthcare professionals.

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A wide range of publications produced by both the federal funds and public institutions provide a deep understanding of the seriousness of the issue and the measures that have to be taken to eliminate the problem.

The government provided multiple sources to obtain current information on the status of the childhood obesity problem. A review of the governmental health agency websites of the national, state, and local levels has identified that the information regarding childhood obesity rates and the preventive measures mostly overlap. One of the major resources, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides the news, statistics, and observations as for the state of affairs with the problem. Another governmental initiative to inform the wide public regarding the new developments of the issue is the creation of a series of films under the common title “The Weight of the Nation” (2012). The films contain thought-provoking facts, interviews with the families struggling with the problem, and offer a piece of advice to those who would want to acquire professional help.

Utilized Materials. The Key Strategies

The key strategies will include the following measures:

  • advancement of the healthy lifestyle among children and their families,
  • employment of collaborative efforts to change youngsters’ nutrition and leisure activity habits,
  • eliminating the propaganda of bad eating habits,
  • direct help extension to the affected population by organizing public nutrition seminars,
  • promoting a health lifestyle at school;
  • offering individual help for schoolchildren and their families at community centers and at school,
  • welcoming patients’ visits for consultations with nutrition specialists,
  • creation of special environments supporting healthy food habits and regular physical activity.

Follow-up Plan

After conducting the planned meeting with the policymaker, my follow-up plan is to write a formal letter to thank the policymaker for her time, cooperation, and favorable response. Next, I plan to conduct further research to study the new insights about the childhood obesity issue offered by the policymaker. According to Tiffin, Arnott, Moore, and Summerbell (2011), it is important to continue consultations with the policymaker concerning the issue under consideration to address the contradictions that might exist between the economical and healthcare implications of the problem. Finally, my important objectives are the continuation of the collaboration with the policymaker in the policy development and implementation both in the school and home settings and using the future opportunities as a result of this planned visit.

Policymaker’s Response

The focus of my interest with regards to the policy issue of childhood obesity is the age group of adolescents between 11 and 13 since children in this category is especially vulnerable to the concurrent mental problems development due to their desire to acquire peers’ acceptance. To address the needs of this category of children, I will focus my policy on the general strategies that will help the children control their weight by means of leading a healthy life, and on the necessary psychological interventions aiming to support those who suffered from concomitant mental disorders.

My proposal will include preventive measures implemented both to the affected children and their parents as well so that the close ones could support their children emotionally and provide the necessary encouragement. Based on Sharma (2012), Taylor et al. (2012), and Tiffin, Arnott, Moore, and Summerbell (2011), I came to a conclusion that the policy I am elaborating on is to focus on both physical and mental aspects of the problem of childhood obesity as they are interdependent and without solving each of the aspects, it is impossible to ensure the desired patient outcome.

For this project implementation, success definition will include the following components: (1) common vision development; (2) establishing an effective dialogue with the policymaker, (3) stable progress after each stage of consultations; (4) eventual policy implementation; and (5) considerable improvement of patient mental and physical health outcomes in children between 11 and 13 achieved by means of the policy application.

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Reflections on the Policy-making Process

The policy-making process is both challenging and rewarding. It requires much time and effort to collect and organize the evidence-based knowledge in order to collaborate effectively with the policy-maker (Milat, King, Newson, Wolfenden, Rissel, Bauman, & Redman, 2014).

Working on the project, I came to a conclusion that the main success factors in the policy-making process are the following:

  • Facilitating effective communication with the policymaker
  • Striving to promote a similar vision of the problem
  • Eliminating possible contradictions
  • Ability to come to a compromise
  • Good command of evidence-based knowledge.

Possible Future Opportunities

The possible future opportunities as a result of this meeting are the following: the steady advancement of the policymaking process, eventual development and implementation of the policy, and public health promotion in our community in children between 11 and 13 (Milat, et al., 2014).

Concluding Statements

In conclusion, the policy issue of childhood obesity continues to be burning in American society. It causes a variety of concurrent problems including mental disorders. To address this policy issue effectively, I propose a multi-angled strategy that includes constructing the environment of physical activity and healthy eating for the affected category of youngsters both in the school and home settings, welcoming patients’ visits along with their family members in order to acquire professional and timely help to prevent the negative consequences of obesity, and elimination of the lack of public knowledge regarding childhood obesity and its prevention.

To liquidate the lack of public knowledge regarding childhood obesity and its prevention in the affected category of youngsters I have addressed in this policy (between 11 and 13 years old), I propose:

  • Placing the presentation to the local school board
  • Arranging educational meetings with the children and their close ones
  • Conducting personal consultations at the specially established places at local hospitals
  • Publishing educational posts in popular social networks such as Facebook or Twitter

The results of the planned policymaking visit are as follows:

  • Contact establishing with the policymaker
  • Identification of differences in understanding the policy issue
  • Common vision development
  • Acquiring the positive feedback from the policymaker
  • Suggestions to elaborate more practically oriented initiatives, which could be introduced in the school and home settings
  • Collaboration in the policy future advocacy in the local school

References

Childhood obesity [Image]. (n. d.). Web.

Healthy Weight – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle! (2013). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.

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Johnson, N. (2014). Childhood Obesity Prevention And Treatment: Eating Healthy Can Be Fun! Seattle: Speak, Inc.

McBride, D. (2010). Childhood obesity. Practice Nurse, 39(11), 40-45.

Milat, A. J., King, L., Newson, R., Wolfenden, L., Rissel, C., Bauman, A., & Redman, S. (2014). Increasing the scale and adoption of population health interventions: Experiences and perspectives of policy makers, practitioners, and researchers. Health Research Policy and Systems, 12, 1-11.

Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention Program. (2012). Web.

Schwartz, M. & Story, M. (2009). Schools and obesity prevention: Creating school environments and policies to promote healthy eating and physical activity. Future Child, 16(1). 109-142.

Sharma, A. (2012). Obesity and mental health-A complicated and complex relation. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 57(1), 3-4.

Taylor, V., McIntyre, R., Remington, G., Levitan, R., Stonehocker, B., & Sharma, A. (2012). Beyond pharmacotherapy: Understanding the links between obesity and chronic mental illness. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 57(1), 5-12.

The weight of the nation. Childhood obesity [film]. (2012). Web.

Tiffin, P. A., Arnott, B., Moore, H. J., & Summerbell, C. D. (2011). Modelling the relationship between obesity and mental health in children and adolescents: Findings from the health survey for england 2007. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 5, 31.

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