Childhood Obesity Paper
The malnutrition patterns witnessed in the recent past have shifted from the nutrient deficiencies such as kwashiorkor to nutrient excess that present in the form of obesity. This change is attributable to factors that lead to increased food intake or decreased use of nutrients, the latter largely orchestrated by increased inactivity.
Incidence and Cost of Care for Childhood Obesity
In children, obesity is highly influenced by parenting models and genetic reasons as childhood obesity are hereditary in most cases. In determining childhood obesity, the child’s age, weight, and gender are put into consideration. When the weight of a girl is 30% composed of fat and that of a boy is 25% composed of fat, the child is considered obese.
In the US alone, 18.4% of children between the ages of 2 to 18 years are obese; 13.4% of adolescent girls and 12.9% of adolescent boys are affected (Smith et al., 2020). The condition has health, social and economic impacts. The health cost is higher with an estimated amount of between US$12,660 and US$19,630 spent annually to handle the menace in a single child (Di Cesare et al., 2019). Given this background, this paper examines US the government’s policies aimed at mitigating childhood obesity and in turn, reduce the associated high costs of management.
Policies on Childhood Obesity
The government has implemented several measures aimed at solving the issue of obesity in children. These includes farm subsidies and loans, legislation, and curriculum development. The loans and subsidies to the farmers encourage the growth of healthy foods that when consumed, have no risk of causing obesity. The legislation component entails hefty fees on unhealthy foods or laws requiring schools to increase the amount of time students spend on daily physical exercises.
Curriculum development, on the other hand, targets behavioral change through education on healthy foods and the essence of physical exercise. The Farm to School advocacy is one of the government’s legislation designed to offer guidance in tackling obesity. The policy addresses different stakeholders concerned with the provision of meals, namely the school, the farmers, and the parents.
The school is encouraged to stock foods from local farmers; the foods are healthier without chemicals, are sold at a lower cost, and can provide all nutritional values required by children. The farmers often have access to farming grants and loans and are also receive training on better farming methods aimed at improving food security in the country. The parents are then advised to adopt physical exercise in the family to enhance the energy expenditure thus manage the obesity in their children (Muckian et al., 2017).
The Legislators Involved
The advocacy policy has had many proponents and different bills have been passed in line with the policy. These regulations mostly cover food production, provision of food education to students, and encouragement of the growth of school gardens to supply the school with nutritious foods.
Some of the legislations have been passed in Illinois, Michigan, and New York states. In Illinois, Senator Pat McGuire and House Representative Justin Slaughter sponsored the Bill that revised previous regulations to allow each school to have a school garden. The garden would allow for different kinds of animal rearing and plant growing which would contribute to providing more healthy foods to the students.
The water and soil used in growing the plants would be tested to standardize the farm nutrients and eliminate chemicals in the soil that would hinder the plant growth (“Illinois General Assembly – Bill Status for HB2993”, n.d.). The plants are therefore healthier and their produce is more reliable in the supply of required nutrients.
The Role of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN)
The nurses perform several duties in the hospital that are aimed at improving the quality of life and also the quality of health services offered. In the policymaking and development process, the APRN is essential in providing recommendations on the law-making process to ensure the protection of patient’s rights. They are also involved in the implementation as the custodians of the policies.
Here, the nurses provide the necessary education to the patients on a balanced diet and the importance of regular physical activity in reducing incidences of obesity. They also act as watchdogs to remind other health providers including the medical doctors on how to manage childhood obesity as per the existing policies (Woo et al., 2017). For this reason, nurses are the backbone in the implementation of policies.
Influence of Policy in Clinical Practice
The policy affects the clinical outcomes of conditions. The incidence of obesity and its complications, for instance, reduces with appropriate intervention strategies. Fewer patients present with hypertension, fractures, or sleep apnea that is attributable to obesity. The hospital stay for patients with childhood obesity also dramatically reduces as does the cost of care (Hanney et al., 2017).
Inter-professional Team in Policy Implementation
The policy requires a multi-sectorial approach. Its success requires that the healthcare workers, the educators, and the farmers work hand-in-hand. For the success of the policy, therefore, inter-professional training and seminars can be organized so that each team member is well conversant with the policy (Buljac-Samardzic et al., 2020). This enhances the acceptability of the policy and facilitates its implementation.
The increasing burden of managing childhood obesity calls for extensive research and implementation of policies to mitigate the menace. While most states across the US have adopted different policies that encourage healthy living among school going children, some policies such the farm to school strategy, though noble, has delivered minimal results.
Arguably, these policies must be complimented with social education spearheaded by advanced nurse practitioners who understand the interaction between policy strategies and implementation outcomes, and how social dynamics can shape the outcomes.
Childhood Obesity Paper References
Buljac-Samardzic, M., Doekhie, K., & van Wijngaarden, J. (2020). Interventions to improve team effectiveness within health care: a systematic review of the past decade. Human Resources For Health, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-019-0411-3
Di Cesare, M., Sorić, M., Bovet, P., Miranda, J., Bhutta, Z., & Stevens, G. et al. (2019). The epidemiological burden of obesity in childhood: a worldwide epidemic requiring urgent action. BMC Medicine, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-019-1449-8
Hanney, S., Greenhalgh, T., Blatch-Jones, A., Glover, M., & Raftery, J. (2017). The impact on healthcare, policy and practice from 36 multi-project research programmes: findings from two reviews. Health Research Policy And Systems, 15(1), 26. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-017-0191-y
Illinois General Assembly – Bill Status for HB2993. Ilga.gov. Retrieved from https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=2993&GAID=14&DocTypeID=HB&SessionID=91&GA=100
Muckian, J., Snethen, J., & Buseh, A. (2017). School nurses’ experiences and perceptions of healthy eating school environments. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 35, 10–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2017.02.001
Smith, J., Fu, E., & Kobayashi, M. (2020). Prevention and management of childhood obesity and its psychological and health comorbidities. Annual Review Of Clinical Psychology, 16(1), 351-378. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-100219-060201
Woo, B., Lee, J., & Tam, W. (2017). The impact of the advanced practice nursing role on quality of care, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and cost in the emergency and critical care settings: a systematic review. Human Resources For Health, 15(1), 63. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-017-0237-9