Health Promotion Project: Part 1
Childhood obesity is a huge health problem that faces children both locally and internationally and needs an action that is innovative at all levels. The condition has both long term and immediate negative health outcomes and is linked strongly to different chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart diseases, certain types of cancer and gall bladder diseases. Addressing the obesity risk factors easily in life (childhood) helps in reducing the likelihood of a child being obese or overweight. This paper is a proposal for health promotion program that focusses on the children as vulnerable population with childhood obesity as the health issue. The paper will then discuss in detail a literature review explaining why the project is needed currently for the obese children. Furthermore, it will contrast and compare other existing programs. Additionally, the paper will provide the background to the project before listing the aims and objectives for the project.
Children as a vulnerable population
Vulnerability according to WHO (2015) is the degree to which an organization, an individual or a population is unable to cope, anticipate, recover from or resist the disasters impact. Immunocompromised people or ill people, malnourished people, elderly, pregnant women and children are regarded as vulnerable population particularly when there is a strike by diseases because they represent a larger share of the burden of the disease. This paper will particularly focus on children as vulnerable population to obesity. WHO (2015) stated that children are not adults because they possess unique and different environmental exposure patterns. Furthermore, they have susceptibilities that are developmentally determined that increases their diseases risks when exposed to the environment.
Childhood obesity as a health disparity
Child obesity according to Myoclinic (2015), is medical condition that is very serious and affects the adolescents and children. The condition occurs when a child has a weight that is above the normal weight for a child of his or her height and age. On the other hand, CDC (2015) defined overweight body weight in excess for particular height from bones, muscles, water, fat or even a combination of them. Similarly, obesity as defined by CDC (2015) is having body fat in excess. The condition is troubling health disparity among the children population because the extra weight in children make them start having health problems that once were regarded as for the adults such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Moreover, Mayoclinic (2015) indicated that childhood obesity can also result into depression, poor self-esteem among the children, stress on joints and ones, fatty liver, behaviour problems and sleep apnoea and snoring.
The planned intervention program
The planned intervention program need sustainable planning with the aim of improving the health outcomes of the children. Sustainability is an important component in planning since sustainable programs are able to continue and be integrated within the community even after discontinuation of the funding (Shediac-Rizkallah and Bone, 1998). Sustainability is defined as a dynamic process involving continuation of a program. Sustainability is important because lack of it can lead to loss of investments hence potentially impacting of the programs coming in future (Van Acker et al, 2012). To ensure sustainability to the program, it will rely on effective and innovative approaches to interventions affecting the change at the institutional, organizational and individual levels. Structures will be established and maintained throughout the whole program with continuous required assessments.
Furthermore, the project will apply philosophies and principles of health promotion in developing the program. The principles of health promotion that the proposed health program will use include consumer and community participation in making of decisions, equity, use of technology that is affordable and socially acceptable, provision of health education and provision of services based on the population needs. On the other hand, the project will use philosophies of health promotion. As program promoters, the decisions concerning resources and strategies will be determined by our values and definitely this will affect people’s responses to the health promotion. Therefore, cultural and ethical values will be considered before planning for any action. The project will work with people by allowing them participate in all programs aspects especially those affecting their daily lives.
Childhood obesity is a serious health issue and therefore all stakeholders should turn around this increasing trend. The condition should be addressed with a lot of sensitivity so as to avoid unintended or negative consequences such as stigma. Therefore, the planned intervention this paper proposed considered the psycho-social aspects of the childhood obesity and overweight. This intervention supports physical activity, healthy weights and healthy eating among the obese children. The planned intervention program in this paper will be referred to as “Childhood Obesity Intervention program.” The program entails three integrated strategies that will involve all concerned stakeholders since childhood obesity is a collective health issue and they include:
- Strategy 1: making childhood obesity a priority for all government health agencies and ministries
- Strategy 2: coordinating efforts on the priorities
- Supportive environments: making physical and social environments where the children play, learn and live more supportive to healthy eating and physical activity
- Early action: finding out risks of obesity and overweight in children and addressing it early
- Nutritious foods: coming up with ways to increase accessibility and availability of nutritious foods and decreasing the marketing, accessibility and availability of beverages and foods in high sugar, fat and sodium in children
- Strategy 3: Assessing and reporting on the interventions collective progress in childhood obesity reduction, learning from the strategies and initiatives that were successful, and modifying the approaches appropriately.
Strategy 1: making childhood obesity a priority for all government health agencies and ministries
Under this strategy, the government and non-government health agencies and key ministries will be required to mobilise and engage all societal sectors. Given that childhood obesity is a huge health problem, has huge impacts and has roots in the entire society, a collective effort is needed to:
- To marshal all societal sectors to combat the childhood obesity cause
- To create child’s environments to be easy to choice, healthy choice for physical activity and eating
- To promote opportunities or communities, families and individuals to take action and embrace positive behavioural changes by improving healthy eating and increasing physical activities
Government and non-government health agencies and key ministries will champion this intervention program in the following ways:
- Become visible and active change catalysts with an aim of increasing actions on the childhood obesity issue within their agencies, ministries and departments
- Be champions of government actions with their fellows in other agencies, ministries and departments to address the known factors contributing to childhood obesity and which also does not fall within the health such as in education and infrastructure
- Act as societal level support and engagement mobilizers to inspire the policy and decision makers, youth and children, community and NGO leaders, private and public with a view to change public policy and environments
Strategy 2: coordinating efforts on the priorities
- Supportive environments
Under this strategy, actions will be directed towards children throughout their different phases of childhood development, where they learn, live and play. That is at the community, in their families and at schools. Physical activity and healthy eating are important for the young children’s healthy development to reduce their obesity risks later in life (GCOU, 2011). For instance, exclusive breastfeeding of children for the first six months and be helpful in preventing overfeeding and reducing early childhood obesity risks.
According to PHAC (2015), most children spend their early hours of the day in school environments in most days of the week. Therefore, policies of the schools that can contrite to obesity reduction should be encouraged. They include policies that examine the types of beverages and food sold and served in schools. Quality physical education, and provision of safe and active mode of transportation to and from schools.
The families will also be engaged and supported early in the children’s lifespan since for most children, their parents offers the first opportunity of creating cultural, physical and social environmental promoting healthy development and growth in all aspects of life of the child.
b. Early action
Monitoring an infant and its child growth regularly is significant to identifying obesity risks early. When a child will be identified as being at obesity risk, a variety of interventions that are appropriate developmentally such as physical activity, nutrition and building self-esteem will offer families and their children several opportunities in addressing this critical issue. Improving parental knowledge, skills and awareness on physical activity and healthy eating will be key to effectively addressing the issue.
C. Nutritious foods
This strategy also recognizes the healthy option and it should be easily recognizable and available. Communities should be encouraged to adopt healthy eating habits that contain nutritious foods. Keleher, MacDougall & Murphy (2007) pointed out that social determinants of health such as income tend to limit the ability of a family to make healthy choices affectively. Additionally, given that children are vulnerable, they have little control to their environmental and are easily influenced. Their exposure to marketing of beverages and foods high in sodium, sugar and fats will be vital in decreasing their consumption.
Strategy 3: Assessing and reporting on the interventions collective progress
Three key components of the intervention program will support assessment and reporting on the interventions collective progress in childhood obesity and overweight reduction. First of all, it is vital to inform policy options continually through the information existing from surveillance, research and other forms both locally and internationally. Secondly, the obesity and overweight of the children should be tracked as well as the factors that influence weight. Lastly, monitoring and reporting regularly will determine the progress and allow for any modification to the planned intervention program, if needed, so as to realize the necessary societal shifts to curb childhood obesity.
The proposed “Childhood Obesity Intervention program” and the entire project is currently need to address the scourging childhood obesity because of several reasons. First, the proposed intervention program is inclusive and incorporate different intervention programs, incorporates all stakeholders both in health, government and non-government organizations together to address this health issue. The rate of childhood obesity between the year 1985-1995 tripled and overweight doubled in Australia. Moreover, obesity and overweight continue to rise in Australia. DAA (2015) pointed out a national health survey done by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which indicated that between 2007 to 2008, the results showed that between children aged 5 years to 17 years, one in every four are obese or overweight. Similarly, CDC (2015) stated that childhood obesity has doubled amongst the children for the past 30 years and quadrupled amongst the adolescents. In United States, the percentage of the children who were obese and aged 6 to 11 years increased to 18% from 7% from 1980 to 2012. Furthermore, the percentage of the adolescents in United States aged between 12 years to 19 years who are obese increase over the same period of time to 21% from 5%. The rising obesity and overweight rates among children and adults is a global health issue and this has seen establishment of International Obesity Taskforce by WHO to implement strategies that will be helpful in combating this problem. According to Must & Strauss (1999), Australian obese children have a 25%-50% chances of becoming adults who are obese. This increases with the rising overweight degree which is carried into adolescence and later into adulthood. This also increases if one of the parents or both are obese or overweight.
The proposed “Childhood Obesity Intervention program” compared and contrasted to other existing programs shows that the proposed intervention has a higher likelihood of being successful and have ability of impacting significantly. Other health intervention programs include school based intervention programs, individual based program, community based programs, and government supported childhood obesity prevention interventions and policies, and population wide initiatives that either incorporate physical activities, or nutrition or even both.
The proposed “Childhood Obesity Intervention program” is effective because its multi component and target both diet and physical activity compared to other programs that solely aim for either physical activity or nutrition. This proposed intervention also involve family, carers, experts, government, concerned stakeholders, and peers hence more effective compared to individual based programs. Moreover, the program target the population group appropriately and consider the influence of socio economic status, sex and age. The program is also engaging and fun with emphasis on healthy lifestyle management as well based on theoretical framework hence practical in nature.
Background to the project
Childhood obesity and overweight comes as a result of imbalance in the energy consumed by the children and the energy they expend continually over some time. This implies that obesity and overweight will result from the more energy the child consumes from drinks and food compared to that the child burns up by actively playing physically and exercising. The additional energy not expended by the child is stored in the body as fat (DAA, 2015).
The risk factors for childhood obesity are diverse. According to Mayoclinic (2015), some of the risk factors for childhood obesity include; lack of exercise, poor diet, family factors, socio economic factors and psychological factors. Children who do not engage in regular exercises has a higher probability of gaining weight since they do not burn down their excess body calories. GCOU (2011) indicated that children who spend too much time in sedentary activities such as playing video games, watching television and many more also has a higher likelihood of being obese. On the diet factor, children who eat high caloric food regularly such as fast foods, vending machine snacks, baked good, candy and desserts, soft drinks can easily gain weight (Langwith, 2013). Under the family risk factors, Juettner (2010) stated that a child that comes from a family that has overweight people has a higher likelihood of gaining weight. This is further exuberated by an environment that has a high caloric foods and physical exercises among the children is not encouraged. Psychologically, some children tend to overeat so as to cope with some emotional problems such as tress or even to fight off boredom. Lastly, the socio economic factors include the people in areas that have limited resources or even are not accessible to supermarkets and therefore tend to stock convenience foods that do not go bad easily such as cookies, crackers, and frozen meals. Additionally, people living in low income neighbourhood may not be accessing or may not have grounds, gymnasiums and parks for exercising.
Aims and objectives of the project
- To make a implement an inclusive intervention program to childhood obesity
- To build an awareness on the childhood obesity problem
- To assess the strength of the proposed “Childhood Obesity Intervention program” as compared to other intervention programs
- To connect those already working on the childhood obesity issue with new sectors and new organizations
- To ensure that the intervention strategies emphasize environmental and policy changes, and not just family and individual efforts.
In conclusion, Australia has an epidemic of childhood obesity and will have significant effects on the healthcare systems. This condition if not addressed with the urgency it deserves may make the children have less healthy lives and even shorter life span compared to their parents. Innovative and unique solutions incorporating government health agencies, private organizations, communities, schools and families working together is the best option for this condition to effectively implement programs and policies. Not only being active or eating well will solve childhood obesity, but a set of economic, environmental, technological, psychological and social forces operating in communities, nationally and globally. The proposed program will focus on three principal strategies for stakeholder’s collaboration, engagement of multi sectorial across agencies and ministries to promote children’s healthy weights.
CDC,. (2015). CDC – Obesity – Facts – Adolescent and School Health. Cdc.gov. Retrieved 14 August 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm
DAA,. (2015). Childhood Obesity | Dietitians Association of Australia. Daa.asn.au. Retrieved 14 August 2015, from http://daa.asn.au/for-the-public/smart-eating-for-you/nutrition-a-z/childhood-obesity/
Global Childhood Obesity Update. (2011). Childhood Obesity (Formerly Obesity And Weight Management), 7(1), 56-60. doi:10.1089/chi.2011.0114
Juettner, F. B. (2010). Childhood obesity. San Diego, CA: ReferencePoint Press.
Keleher, H., MacDougall, C. & Murphy, B. (2007). Understanding Health Promotion. Melbourne: Oxford University Press
Langwith, J. (2013). Childhood obesity. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Mayoclinic,. (2015). Childhood obesity – Mayo Clinic. Mayoclinic.org. Retrieved 14 August 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/childhood-obesity/basics/definition/con-20027428
Must, A., & Strauss, R. (1999). Risks and consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 23, S2-S11. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0800852
PHAC,. (2015). Curbing Childhood Obesity: A Federal, Provincial and Territorial Framework for Action to Promote Healthy Weights – Actions Taken and Future Directions 2011 – Public Health Agency of Canada. Phac-aspc.gc.ca. Retrieved 15 August 2015, from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/framework-cadre/2011/hw-os-2011-eng.php#a3
Shediac-Rizkallah, M. C., & Bone, L. R. (1998). Planning for the sustainability of community-based health programs: conceptual frameworks and future directions for research, practice and policy. Health Education Research, 13(1), 87-108. doi: 10.1093/her/13.1.87
Van Acker, R., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., De Cocker, K., Klesges, L., Willem, A., & Cardon, G. (2012). Sustainability of the whole-community project ‘10,000 Steps’: a longitudinal study. BMC Public Health, 12(1), 155.
WHO,. (2015). WHO | Vulnerable groups. Who.int. Retrieved 14 August 2015, from http://www.who.int/environmental_health_emergencies/vulnerable_groups/en/
WHO. (1986). A discussion document on the concept and principles of health promotion. Health Promotion International, 1(1), 73-76. doi: 10.1093/heapro/1.1.73