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Health Promotion and Obesity Prevention Coursework

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Neighborhood Walkability and Obesity

The study conducted by Lovasi, Neckerman, Quinn, Weiss, and Rundle (2009) focuses on the effects of the walkability of the neighborhood and its influence on the condition of the population. In particular, attention is paid to obesity. The article reveals that not all groups of people are affected by this condition. The researchers prove that different populations are affected by the walkability of the neighborhood variously. Mainly, alterations are connected with their characteristics, such as race/ethnicity, age, gender, and social status, as well as with their built environment. All in all, the results show that non-Hispanic Whites and people who have better education and household income tend to obtain more benefits from neighborhood walkability. In addition to that, this association for them is the most consistent what cannot be said about the disadvantaged populations and areas. They turn out to be negatively affected by the inability to change their place of residence and the development of additional barriers to having a healthy weight. Thus, in the framework of this study people with “low educational attainment, low household income, Black race, and Hispanic ethnicity” fail to benefit from neighborhood walkability as from the environment that has a positive influence on the reduction of the body mass index (BMI) and obesity (Lovasi et al., 2009, p. 279). Unfortunately, it is not possible to say for sure why such results were obtained. However, it cannot be denied that people’s lifestyle and the lack of means to go to other places has a huge influence on the situation. What is more, there is a possibility that those characteristics of the environment that were not measured affected the results. Thus, these areas may turn out to be unsafe and unattractive. People may have no opportunity to use paid gyms and have different norms and access to food. Activities they are engaged in, and response to environmental features may also differ greatly.

Health Promotion Intervention to Reduce Obesity

Trying to address the issue of obesity in disadvantaged populations and neighborhoods, I would consider the necessity to develop a health promotion intervention. To ensure the possibility to reach desired outcomes, I would do my best to align the most appropriate theoretical approaches with practice (Chan & Woo, 2010). First of all, I would maintain research to gather the most critical information about obesity and the environment in which it occurs. I would consider people’s behavior and the way it is associated with the discussed health problem. I would resort to authoritative literature sources to find out what health promotion theories can be used (Lobstein & Swinburn, (n.d.). Being able to use the results of research maintained by my predecessors, I would have an opportunity to fill in the gaps they had and to design some innovative solutions (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014). I would also consider my social context and narrow the sample of my study to the population of a particular location so that it would be possible to gain a better understanding of the situation. In addition to that, I would align my intervention with the objectives outlined in Healthy People 2020 (n.d.). According to it, obesity is a critical issue that affects people’s health adversely and is prevalent among “middle-aged people and non-Hispanic black and Mexican American women” (Healthy People 2020, n.d., para. 21). Thus, it would be advantageous for me to pay more attention to this population. I would also be willing to gather additional information about the population’s understanding of food labels (Black, 2014). I would try to improve their knowledge regarding it, making people reduce the amount of unhealthy food they eat, start visiting gyms or get involved in other activities.

Environment and Ecological Perspective

When designing my intervention, I would pay attention to the environment of the targeted populations. I would base my consideration on both physical and sociocultural environments because both of them have an enormous influence on people’s health. For instance, workers tend to quit smoking if they work in smoke-free workplaces (Fichtenberg & Glantz, 2002). Similarly, living in an area where a lot of people go jogging in the morning, newcomers are likely to do the same. Individuals are more likely to attend a gym if they have one nearby than if they need to take a bus to get to it. In this way, it can be seen that the environment plays a great role in the success of the intervention. In the framework of the ecological perspective, I would consider different levels of influence, including “intrapersonal or individual factors; interpersonal factors; institutional or organizational factors; community factors; and public policy factors” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014). Thus, I would focus on the way individual characteristics and relations with other people affect the health condition, especially obesity tendencies. What is more, I would think of regulations that can promote the behavior I would try to implement, social norms that are of current interest to the sample, and policies that support healthy actions and prevent obesity (Eddy, Donahue, & Webster 2002).

References

Black, A. (2014). What if we put physical activity on the food label? Web.

Chan, R., & Woo, J. (2010). Prevention of overweight and obesity: How effective is the current public health approach. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(3), 765–783.

Eddy, J.M., Donahue, R.E., & Webster, R.D. (2002). Application of an ecological perspective in worksite health promotion: A Review. American Journal of Health Studies, 17(4), 197-202.

Fichtenberg, C.M., & Glantz, S.A. (2002). Effect of smoke-free workplaces on smoking behaviour: Systematic review. British Medical Journal, 325(7357), 188-201.

Healthy People 2020. (n.d.). Web.

Lobstein, T., & Swinburn, B. (n.d.). Web.

Lovasi, G., Neckerman, K., Quinn, J., Weiss, C., & Rundle, A. (2009). Effect of individual or neighborhood disadvantage on the association between neighborhood walkability and body mass index. American Journal of Public Health, 99(2), 279-84.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). Web.

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