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Childhood Obesity Advocacy Campaign Essay


Childhood Obesity

Statistics indicate that one in every three American children has obesity or is overweight (Karnik and Kanekar 3). Foltz et al. believe that obesity is a major health problem that will affect more people in the future (399). Unless stringent measures are put in place, many young people will have reduced life expectancies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 12.7 million adolescents and children are affected by the condition. The disease has been observed to affect African Americans and Hispanics the most. Milstead argues that childhood obesity is a major health challenge that continues to put the health of many children at risk (82). Professionals believe strongly that adequate measures and policies targeting small children can protect the country’s population from the health challenges caused by obesity. Childhood obesity is therefore the targeted issue for this paper.

Advocacy Campaigns

Several advocacy campaigns have been implemented in order to deal with obesity in adults and children. One of these initiatives is the Campaign to End Obesity. The campaign is managed by a board comprised of leaders from different agencies such as the U.S. Soccer Foundation and the American Family Children’s Hospital (Karnik and Kanekar 3). The campaign has been convening experts and leaders from different sectors. These players have been pushing for new policies that have the potential to deal with this health problem. In order to achieve positive results, the campaign has been providing adequate guidelines to decision-makers and health professionals in order to deal with the epidemic.

The second advocacy campaign is the National Obesity Care Week (NOCW). This campaign is held every year to present useful guidelines that can be used to deal with obesity in both children and adults. The campaign has been in place since the year 2015 (Milstead 19). The main objective of the campaign has been to present new strategies that can be used to transform the manner in which care for obesity is provided. The campaign has attracted over 35 healthcare institutions across the United States. According to many people suffering from the disease, very few incentives and guidelines are presented by physicians. The campaign has been focusing on the best strategies to promote public awareness. Different stakeholders have been empowered in order to educate more people about the problems associated with diabetes (Karnik and Kanekar 5). The contributions of different stakeholders such as the Obesity Action Coalition and the Obesity Society have led to the success of the campaign.

Attributes of the Campaigns

Several attributes can be used to explain why these advocacy campaigns are effective. To begin with, the Campaign to End Obesity has attracted many leaders from different sectors. These professionals have presented adequate ideas that can be used to tackle the disease. Academicians and policymakers have been presenting useful information to promote new policies. The campaign has also focused on the importance of appropriate treatment, healthy food materials, and exercises (Foltz et al. 401). On the other hand, the NOCW campaign has been supported by specific partners that understand the issues surrounding the condition. The campaign attracts physicians and players in the healthcare industry. The campaign advises patients to establish meaningful relationships with their patients in order to develop sustainable weight management pans. These attributes have led to positive results in the healthcare sector.

Proposed Obesity Advocacy Campaign

The title of the proposed advocacy campaign for obesity is the Prevention of Childhood Obesity. The campaign will mainly focus on the concept of lobbying. In order to produce desirable outcomes, different stakeholders and lobbying groups will be attracted to join the campaign. The approach will ensure the campaign is successful. The government will be informed about the proposals outlined in the advocacy campaign (Novak and Brownell 2347). With appropriate lobbying, it will be possible to ensure the government implements new laws to tackle the problem of childhood obesity. Such laws can focus on the consumption of specific foods and unhealthy drinks (Karnik and Kanekar 6). It is agreeable that some of the food materials and beverages marketed in the country are responsible for this epidemic. When proper laws are put in place, the leading beverage firms will implement new manufacturing procedures to address this problem.

The campaign will have specific objectives. The first one is ensuring that more lobbying groups are involved in the fight against childhood obesity in the nation. The second objective is promoting new regulations and policies that will ensure more companies market healthy foods to the people. This objective will support the fight against this condition (Novak and Brownell 2348). The third objective is to ensure more parents and school-going children are informed about the importance of healthy foods and exercises.

The current data and evidence show conclusively that childhood diabetes is a major problem affecting different racial groups in the country. The CDC indicates that “the prevalence of obesity was 8.9 percent among 2-5-year-olds” (Foltz et al. 405). The percentage of obese children was observed to increase with age (Karnik and Kanekar 5). Most of the measures implemented to tackle the problem of childhood obesity have been opposed by different stakeholders. Companies such as Coca Cola Company and PepsiCo have been “using their financial resources to lobby against specific policies such as the federal plan for soda tax” (KAMIK 5). These aspects explain why the proposed campaign should be implemented immediately.

Approaches to Support the Policy

It is agreeable that the American government has implemented various laws and regulations in order to address the problem of childhood obesity. Some of these regulations include beverage and food policies. These laws have emerged due to the actions and initiatives undertaken by different lobbyists (Milstead 62). Companies such as the American Beverage Association have been reducing the percentage of calories from various drinks. That being the case, the proposed policy can be enacted through proper regulation of the existing laws. This is the case because most of the existing laws focus on the best business practices especially in the beverage and food industry. The campaign will ensure the government implements powerful measures to ensure the current laws are taken seriously (Karnik and Kanekar 6). Additionally, the campaign can present new laws that require the government to regulate nutritional standards for different foods targeting children.

Laws Capable of Influencing the Advocacy Effort

The existing laws in the country have the potential to influence the proposed advocacy efforts positively. For example, the soda tax policy has been in place for several years now. This law can be used to support the ideas and arguments presented by the lobbyists. The regulation will ensure more stakeholders understand why new regulations focusing on the quality of food materials for children are needed. The Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project has been implemented in an attempt to address the problem of childhood obesity (Novak and Brownell 2349). The proposed laws will be supported by this policy. This is the case because the policy has informed more people about the unique problems arising from the issue of childhood obesity. This discussion shows conclusively that the existing regulations will support the implemented advocacy efforts and eventually transform the situation.

Strategy

The success of the proposed advocacy campaign will depend on the strategies used to influence policymakers to support the initiative. The “three legs” of lobbying will be considered throughout the process (Milstead 78). To begin with, the community (or grassroots) will be taken seriously. Members of the community will be informed and educated about the policy agenda. Civic education will guide more people and inform them about the proposed campaign. Sponsors and well-wishers will be required to support the campaign. The second approach will focus on the capitol leg (Foltz et al. 401). Several policymakers and politicians will be consulted in order to support the agenda. Different leaders and advocacy groups will be informed about the policy. These leaders and politicians will be guided to identify the best strategies for implementing the proposed laws. The third approach will revolve around the use of media houses and avenues. Local radio stations, newspapers, and television channels will be used to inform more people about the policy issue. Social media networks will ensure more people are informed about the policy.

Hurdles and Solutions

Several obstacles might affect the success of the proposed legislative process. To begin with, some of the legislators might not be available throughout the process. This gap can affect the success of the process. This hurdle can be addressed by liaising with different lobbyists. The approach will make it easier to identify specific legislators to support the policy (Foltz et al. 412). Financial constraints can make the legislative process impossible. Donors and established organizations dealing with diabetes in children will be consulted. By so doing, these agencies will support and fund the campaign.

Ethical Dilemmas: Solutions

The complexity of American society can present various ethical dilemmas that can affect the success of the proposed advocacy campaign. The first potential ethical dilemma might arise from the lifestyle freedoms and choices of raising young children. Laws prohibiting companies from marketing specific drinks, beverages, and food materials to children can be criticized by different families depending on their lifestyle choices. In order to deal with this dilemma, it will be necessary to educate more people about the importance of healthy food materials (Milstead 35). People can also be informed about the health problems associated with obesity. The other ethical concern is that of eating culture. The policy seeks to propose specific eating habits that should be embraced in the country. Unfortunately, some cultures have unique eating habits differing from those of others. It will, therefore, be necessary to identify the best measures and alternative food materials for the affected cultural groups.

Ethics and Lobbying Laws

Several ethical laws will be applicable to the proposed advocacy campaign. The privacy rights of different people will be taken seriously whenever promoting the policy. Information and data obtained from different people will not be leaked to third party users. Confidential information will also be secured throughout the campaign period. Issues such as discrimination and inequality will be addressed by the advocacy campaign (Milstead 39). The ultimate goal will be to ensure the targeted children lead better and healthy lifestyles. The concept of ethics will ensure the campaign has the potential to address the needs of more obese children in every American community.

There are several lobbying laws that will dictate the process of the proposed policy campaign. For instance, the goals and objectives of the campaign should be reported to the right authorities. This approach will ensure the campaign is executed in a professional manner and deliver quality results. Donors are required to handle funds in order to improve the level of transparency. Lobbyists should be aware of the existing laws and regulations in the targeted field (Milstead 87). This knowledge is important because it guides lobbyists to focus on the targeted goals only. Specific attributes such as professionalism and integrity will be considered in order to implement the campaign in an ethical manner.

Ethical Challenges Unique to Children

There are unique ethical challenges that are unique to children. To begin with, discrimination across racial and ethnic lines is evident in many schools. More often than not, children from various minority groups usually face discrimination in the country (Novak and Brownell 2348). The situation is even worse when children from such minority racial groups are obese. Implementing specific policies aimed at tackling the health problem can be met with fierce objections (Novak and Brownell 2347). This ethical concern remains a major challenge in the United States.

Sensitive and confidential data can be misused by different players and stakeholders. This is the case many children are not aware of their rights. This ethical challenge will be addressed by implementing powerful guidelines to ensure the gathered information is not exposed to other users. The emerging ethical concerns due to racial differences will also be addressed throughout the period. This move will support the expectations of many citizens across the country. The health needs of many people will also be met using the policy.

Obesity is a major epidemic affecting many children in American society. Various campaigns bringing together policymakers, health institutions, and sporting agencies have been implemented in the past to tackle the epidemic (Milstead 62). Policies and laws focusing on the performance of different companies have been implemented in the country. Unfortunately, such measures have not delivered positive results. The proposed policy campaign, therefore, seeks to support the implementation of the existing laws in order to ensure more children consume healthy foods. The current soda tax will be supported by the campaign to ensure the problem of childhood obesity is dealt with. New proposals focusing on exercises and physical activities will ensure the targeted population realizes its health goals. The ethical dilemmas such as cultural eating habits and privacy will be addressed using every stipulated lobbying law. By so doing, policymakers will launch a powerful plan to ensure the proposed policy is implemented within the shortest time possible (Novak and Brownell 2348). Consequently, more children will be supported in order to lead healthy lifestyles. This strategy will eventually ensure the problem of childhood obesity is addressed in the country.

Works Cited

Foltz, Jenifer, et al. “Population-Level Intervention Strategies and Examples for Obesity Prevention in Children.” The Annual Review of Nutrition, vol. 32, no. 1, 2012, pp. 391-415.

Karnik, Sameera, and Amar Kanekar. “Childhood Obesity: A Global Public Health Crisis.” International Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 3, no. 1, 2012, pp. 1-7.

Milstead, Jeri. Health Policy and Politics: A Nurse’s Guide. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2016.

Novak, Nicole, and Kelly Brownell. “Role of Policy and Government in the Obesity Epidemic.” Circulation, vol. 126, no. 1, 2012, pp. 2345-2352.

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