Public Health Policy and Childhood Obesity
Obesity is one of the most serious issues facing the world today. Childhood obesity is on an increasing trend, with more and more children becoming obese every day. This can be attributed to a number of factors, some of them being environmental and genetic (Perusse, Bouchard, 2011). Lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise also contribute greatly to obesity (Karnik, Kanekar, 2012). The effects of obesity are many, especially in children. Top among these are the health risks. Obese children have a higher probability of contacting diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (WHO, 2013). Other effects include low self esteem among children with weight problems with later affect their social and academic life.
There are public policies that have been put in place to help tackle this problem. In the United States for instance, the government, trough the public health sector has embarked on a project of encouraging physical exercise and keen nutrition in efforts to reduce childhood obesity. One of the intervention methods being used is the hospital based intervention (Karnik, Kanekar, 2012).
This intervention method includes the use of counseling and therapy for children dealing with the problem of obesity. It also entails the use of drug therapy to help with weight loss and management. In cases whether the issue is extreme, there is also the use of bariatric surgery, which is essentially the surgical removal of fat from the body in the quest of a leaner and more manageable body.
The use of trained public health workers when undertaking the counseling sessions is a strong selling point for this intervention method. By so doing the children get professional help when dealing with this grave problem. The obese children are also given a chance to learn about the advantages of healthy living from counseling.
However, the use of drugs and surgery may be seen as a strep too far. Weight loss should be as natural a process as it can be. In the pursuit for eliminating the problem through pharmacological means, one might add more complications to the body. Therefore, the problem of childhood obesity should be addressed through other means but not by the use of drugs or surgery.
Childhood overweight and obesity. World health organization. http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/childhood/en/
Karnik, S. Kanekar, A. (2012). Childhood Obesity: A Global Public Health Crisis. International Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Perusse, L. Bouchard, C. (2011). Role of genetic factors in childhood obesity and in susceptibility to dietary variations. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1034249