Developing an Advocacy Campaign

Introduction

When someone has a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, they are considered to be obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2016). According to the CDC (2011), obesity is the second highest health issue among adult Latinos. From the United States Census Bureau (2015), Hispanics represented 17.6% of the United States population. In 2003 to 2006, 30% of Mexican American women were more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white women (National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, 2010).

In 2003, Surgeon Richard Carmona described the nation’s obesity epidemic as a national crisis (National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, 2010). In 2009, two in every three adults and one in every three children was obese (National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, 2010). This was worse for Latino communities who reported staggering proportions of obesity across the states (National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, 2010).

According to the CDC (2011), obesity related diseases increase death rate among Latino communities. From the reports, at least half of the deaths contributing factors in the Latino community are obesity related. Some of the morbidities associated with obesity include coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension and certain types of cancer. These are in conjunction with other secondary medical conditions like gallbladder disorders, sleep apnea, and respiratory problems. Obesity is also affected by low self-esteem, mood disorders, and depression.

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (2010) has also documented from various research findings that the issue of obesity is affecting the economy of the country as a whole. With obesity comes discrimination, lack of employment or less productivity at workplaces. This means that the economy as a whole is affected by the drop in income generated per year by these individuals as compared to non-obese individuals. From the National Bureau of Economic Research, 17% of national medical costs are attributed to obesity in the year 2010 (National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, 2010). This has been on the rise over the years. The statistics also indicate that over 80% of obese people spent a lot of money on medication (National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, 2010).

Measures Taken

The first approach taken was to conduct bariatric surgeries such as gastric bypass procedures to the obese patients to reduce the body absorption of calories and their overall food intake. This measure enabled the obese individuals to reduce the body mass faster and reduce the obesity and overweight related health conditions. This ended up in prolonged life expectancy of most patients who were in constant monitoring by the surgeons through weight loss treatments (National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, 2010).

The second measure was to improve the family nutrition and recommend action on this. These efforts included improving mother’s access to prenatal care and hence promote breastfeeding to enhance the health of the children. To increase the inclusion of fruits, grains and vegetables and hence have nutritious diets are home. Also, addressing the food deserts and making the foods fresh foods through local farmer markets (National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, 2010).

Proposed Health Advocacy

From the study of the affected subjects, it is evident that this might also be cultural. The fact that the Hispanic community is more affected than other non-Hispanic communities means that the eating habits in this community are wanting. Their intake of high-calorie foods that include beef and other red meat products, bread and wheat products is higher than non-Hispanic American citizens. These high-calorie products that when consumed in excess quantities are stored in the body and the end cause obesity.

Objectives of the Advocacy Campaign

The objectives of the proposed campaign include:

1.    To change unhealthy cooking and feeding habits by parents.

2.    Education to young parents on the best way to take care of their families from what they feed their children to how they influence their eating behaviors.

3.    Advocate for more physical exercise for children throughout their childhood.

The proposed advocacy starts in school. According to Jones (2010), a high percentage of obese children become obese adults. The foods served to the children at school should contain fewer calories and be the healthier mix of proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates. Since this problem begins at tender ages and grows with the individual, the best place to change an unhealthy eating habit is at the tender age. If there is sensitization that the high-calorie foods are unhealthy from a tender age, the children will grow with this implanted in them.

Also, advocacy for this as training to parents at school meetings on the best way to take care of their children is to feed them with healthy meals from a tender age. If free sessions are held for kindergarten kid parents, there will be less risk of children being overfed and badly fed at home by their loving parents who feel that a fat child is a healthy child. Nurses who fully understand the condition should educate the parents on the effect of bad feeding habits. Some curriculums help participants learn how to cook healthier dishes that are inexpensive while still embracing the Latino culture (Cardenas, 2014).

The White House created the Let’s Move campaign against childhood obesity. There are four main elements in this initiative. They include healthy choices, healthy schools, physical activity and access to affordable foods (Jones, 2010). Since these items are in line with the elements in the intended advocacy campaign, the initiative would be reinforcement to what we are trying to achieve, as well.

The last section of the support is to emphasize on physical activities for the children and youth of this community. Since, it is noted that in the United States, high-calorie foods are cheaper and more readily available to the market (World Health Organization (WHO), 2003). There is a need to have physical activities implemented into the curriculum that caters for enough calorie burn to ensure that the students more healthy and fit.

This type of lifestyle is quickly adopted by the younger generation and to ensure that the number of obese children reduces, and this ripples to the older generation over time. If this starts from the family setting where the family members do sports activities together and is supported by the full school workout programs, the levels of obesity will reduce.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the three the main activities are healthier eating, more informed cooking and feeding and consistent physical activity to balance the calorie levels in the body. This will lead to a more productive population; a more stable economy and a prolonged mortally rate in general.

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