Assessing the Problem: Leadership Collaboration Communication Change Management and Policy Considerations
Assessing the Problem: Obesity Among African Americans
Obesity is a complex disorder that involves excessive body fat. Obesity is a serious health concern that increases the risk of other diseases and health problems. It increases the risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and some cancers.
The increasing prevalence of obesity poses a significant population health burden globally. Currently, in the US alone, the adult obesity rate stands at 42.4%, the highest ever recorded. The rate of childhood obesity has also increased, with the current rate being 19.3% among children and young people aged 2-19 years.
Obesity prevalence in the US varies in different health populations, socioeconomic factors, races, and ethnic backgrounds. Obesity is often ignored and may compromise healthcare service delivery and population health. Nursing interventions can therefore be used to address the situation at individual and population levels.
This paper aims to assess the obesity health concern among African Americans from the nursing perspective and propose strategies to address the problem through leadership, collaboration, communication, change management, and policy considerations.
Population Health Problem
Obesity is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases and a leading cause of morbidity (Byrd, Toth & Stanford, 2018). African Americans are one of the minority groups in the US. They are one of the populations that record high obesity rates.
Different socioeconomic factors such as poverty and discrimination may impact people’s ability to maintain a healthy weight, thus the high prevalence of obesity in minority populations. A report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that African Americans have the highest obesity rates among US adults, with 49.9% age-adjusted prevalence (CDC.gov, n.d.).
Studies show that the disparities in the prevalence of obesity in racial/ethnic minorities are also associated with other factors such as diet, genetics, physical activity, psychological factors, income, stress, and discrimination, among others.
Obesity is a condition that requires the input of a multidisciplinary team to address the concern. It requires lifestyle and behavioral interventions, pharmacologic therapies, and access to bariatric surgeries. Due to their high costs, health inequalities, and other societal roadblocks, it is difficult for racial and ethnic minority populations to access some of these services, such as pharmacologic therapies and bariatric surgeries. Therefore, obesity among the African American population needs particular focus, and evidence-based interventions must be applied to combat the crisis.
The relevance of the problem of obesity to nursing practice is that it is an alarming global health issue that requires evidence-based interventions and research. Nurses are among the healthcare providers participating in research and development of interventions to ensure efficiency and quality of care in addressing health issues across different populations.
Obesity Among African Americans Literature Evaluation
Current practices to manage obesity majorly include obesity screening, diagnosis, and obesity counseling (Kahan, 2018). Screening and diagnosis is the first step in addressing a medical condition. Healthcare providers should screen adults for obesity at least every year and refer the obese patients for multicomponent behavioral interventions to attain a healthy weight.
Obesity and weight loss counseling substantially affect weight loss behaviors. These are the effective practices of obesity management. However, other practices, such as pharmacologic therapies and bariatric surgeries, are currently used to manage obesity. As mentioned earlier, the access to obesity healthcare services by minority populations such as African Americans may be compromised by health inequality and high costs (Byrd et al., 2018).
Nursing practice standards reflect nursing values that improve the quality of care delivery and patient outcomes. Literature shows that nursing practice standards and policies have significantly contributed to managing obesity across different health populations. Nurses are responsible for developing care plans and obesity management interventions for patients based on their needs.
According to Schutz et al. (2019), nurses are best suited to give patient-centered obesity education, conduct motivational interviewing, and provide a report to the interprofessional team. Nurses are also trained to develop care plans that consider the psychological aspects of obesity, such as self-esteem, body image, and quality of life, thus encouraging other health benefits and reducing comorbidities in a specific population (Schutz et al., 2019).
Nurses actively participate in all the stages of the policy-making process to ensure it is representative of the health needs of the total population. They provide relevant data during its formulation and pre-evaluation before implementation. Through their participation, nurses help determine areas of improvement and help produce high-quality healthcare policies. Therefore, nurses help improve patient outcomes through viable policies, prevent readmissions through good care quality and prevent illness by offering promotive and preventive health.
Obesity being a worldwide pandemic, nurses play a significant role in its management. Bucher Della Torre et al. (2018) note that individuals with obesity face stigmatization and discrimination in various settings, including healthcare settings.
More so, obese and overweight individuals are likely to suffer less educational and career access, low pay, and poor healthcare services. They are also significantly likely to be bullied, fired, teased, or even romantically rejected. Research shows that some healthcare providers, including nurses and dieticians, may have weight bias. They may also have negative stereotypes and associate obese patients with lazy, non-compliant, and undisciplined.
Weight bias is one of the barriers to implementing evidence-based practice in addressing obesity among health minority populations. Therefore, it is essential to avoid weight bias in nursing interventions towards obesity, thus preventing stigmatization and promoting obesity help-seeking behavior, especially among minority groups.
Weight bias, especially from healthcare providers, may have severe psychological consequences on the patient. Individuals who encounter weight bias record poor body image, low self-esteem, stress, depression, and other psychiatric disorders.
Nursing theories provide the framework for all interventions in nursing. Younous and Quennell (2019) note that nursing theories enable nurses to evaluate and discern their roles in healthcare. The theory of modeling and role modeling ensures that nurses care for and nurture patients while respecting every patient’s uniqueness. The theory will guide my actions during practicum. Since obesity is a bit personal condition, the theory will frame my interactions with members of the population.
Based on the literature discussed above, I have noted consistency between research and actual nursing practice. I would know if the data was unreliable if the literature has insufficient or incomplete information, is not peer-reviewed, and if the research measures what it claims to measure. The information in this literature review is reliable since I used peer-reviewed scholarly sources, which fulfill their purpose.
Impact of State Board Nursing Practice Standards and or Organizational/Governmental Policies on Obesity
Health policies may help create various strategies and build environments that promote healthy lifestyles, thus preventing obesity. Care providers can also encourage policy change and environments supporting obesity reduction (Bowen et al., 2018). Various government policies may affect the nursing scope of practice, thus influencing the management of obesity among African Americans.
Obesity management requires the attention of RNs and APRNs. State government bodies produce the nursing practice act (NPA), which regulates nurses’ professional conduct and the scope of practice. Specific government policies also regulate the nurses’ curriculum, affecting the nurses’ scope of practice.
However, in some states, the nursing scope of practice restricts the nurses from prescribing anti-obesity medications. However, some states exercise full practice, whereby nurses can evaluate patients, diagnose illnesses, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and prescribe medications. In such states, nurses are even allowed to open clinics, thus increasing healthcare access, especially for healthcare populations.
Leadership is vital in healthcare since it influences care and care activities. Obesity management requires a multidisciplinary approach to ensure good patient outcomes. Obesity management requires the collaboration of the patients, their families, nutritionists, therapists, nurses, physicians, dieticians, and counselors.
A participative leadership strategy ensures that all the stakeholders of obesity management are involved in decision-making and setting common goals based on the patient’s needs (Asif et al., 2019). Therefore, patient outcomes are better due to targeting individual patient needs. Patient-centered care through participation enhances patient satisfaction and adherence to behavioral change, thus significantly contributing to the overall outcome.
Participative leadership requires effective coordination and communication. The team leader should communicate the best care plan and interventions based on patient needs to the other team members (Asif et al., 2019). Planning and communication of change will be the best change management strategy to improve care outcomes. Therefore, communication, collaboration, coordination, and an active, participative approach are essential leadership strategies to ensure high-quality patient-centered care.
Obesity is a global health issue that requires consideration at all levels. Current interventions include bariatric surgeries, pharmacologic therapies, and behavioral interventions. Nurses have a role in collecting data for policy-making and evaluating policies to accommodate diverse and complex population needs.
The local and national governments greatly influence the nursing scope of practice through the nursing practice act and other acts and regulations. Nurses must be aware of these regulations to ensure interventions in healthcare conform to their stipulations. Nurse leaders should also be aware of leadership strategies to carry out leadership roles, ensuring healthcare institutions’ success in managing obesity.
Asif, M., Jameel, A., Sahito, N., Hwang, J., Hussain, A., & Manzoor, F. (2019). Can leadership enhance patient satisfaction? Assessing the role of administrative and medical quality. International Journal Of Environmental Research And Public Health, 16(17), 3212. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183318
Bowen, P. G., Lee, L. T., McCaskill, G. M., Bryant, P. H., Hess, M. A., & Ivey, J. B. (2018). Understanding health policy to improve primary care management of obesity. The Nurse Practitioner, 43(4), 46–52. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.NPR.0000531069.11559.96
Bucher Della Torre, S., Courvoisier, D. S., Saldarriaga, A., Martin, X. E., & Farpour‐Lambert, N. J. (2018). Knowledge, attitudes, representations, and declared practices of nurses and physicians about obesity in a university hospital: training is essential. Clinical Obesity, 8(2), 122-130. https://doi.org/10.1111/cob.12238
Byrd, A. S., Toth, A. T., & Stanford, F. C. (2018). Racial Disparities in Obesity Treatment. Current Obesity Reports, 7(2), 130–138. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-018-0301-3
Kahan, S. I. (2018, March). Practical strategies for engaging individuals with obesity in primary care. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 93, No. 3, pp. 351-359). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.01.006
Schutz, D. D., Busetto, L., Dicker, D., Farpour-Lambert, N., Pryke, R., Toplak, H., Widmer, D, Yumuk, V. & Schutz, Y. (2019). European practical and patient-centered guidelines for adult obesity management in primary care. Obesity facts, 12(1), 40-66. https://doi.org/10.1159/000496183
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d.). Adult Obesity Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.html
Younas, A., & Quennell, S. (2019). Usefulness of nursing theory‐guided practice: an integrative review. Scandinavian Journal Of Caring Sciences, 33(3), 540-555. https://doi.org/10.1111/scs.12670