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Public health professionals and epidemiologists must implement powerful models to deal with various diseases and conditions affecting communities. The use of the problem, etiology, recommendations, implementation, and evaluation (P.E.R.I.E.) approach has empowered many human services professionals to address a wide range of diseases affecting mankind. The process begins by examining the nature of the problem or disease, identifying every potential cause, brainstorming strategies to deal with the issue, and outlining best approaches to ensure adequate initiatives are put in place. This paper applies this approach to the obesity epidemic.
Broyles et al. (2015) define “obesity” as a disorder identified by excessive fat in the body. The risk factors for the condition include genetic/family history, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle, and being overweight. The disease is caused by the consumption of excessive food and lack of physical exercise. The main symptom of this condition is the presence of fat in the body (Salas, 2015). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity affects over 1.2 billion adults globally (Silva, Padez, Moura, & Filgueiras, 2016). In 2016, the organization reported that around 39 percent of persons above the age of 40 were overweight (Silva et al., 2016). Over 13 percent of the world’s population is obese (Silva et al., 2016). The number of overweight children has been on the rise since 1990. These statistics explain why obesity is a major public health problem that must be addressed using evidence-based approaches.
Epidemiological Transition and Evidence-Based Public Health
The term “epidemiological transition” refers to a phase characterized by a sudden surge in population growth and then followed by re-leveling of the population (Fildes et al., 2015). Such changes are usually catalyzed by medical innovations and a reduction in fertility rates. The model has also been expanded to describe how various infectious diseases are replaced by chronic conditions due to changes in public health. This model is embraced by epidemiologists because it empowers them to analyze a wide range of issues such as economic positions, sociological determinants, and demographics. These attributes can be linked in an attempt to understand the potential causes of various health problems and come up with appropriate solutions to deal with them.
As indicated earlier, evidence-based public health is a powerful model that has been used by professionals to address various problems affecting different communities. The approach is composed of five unique processes. The first one is the problem. During this phase, professionals focus on the targeted health issue or challenge. The second one is etiology and is used to examine the potential causes of the condition (Broyles et al., 2015). This is followed by recommendations whereby appropriate initiatives are identified to deal with the problem. Implementation is the fourth process and focuses on the best strategies to deal with the problem. Evaluation is the fifth step and is used to examine the success of the implemented initiatives.
The above two concepts can be used by epidemiologists to address the problem of obesity. To begin with, the epidemiological transition can guide public health professionals to examine how/why the problem of obesity has increased in the recent past. Although the condition never used to be taken seriously before, modern scholars have realized that it has the potential to disorient the lives of many people (Fildes et al., 2015). The approach can empower public health workers to implement powerful strategies to change the rate at which more people are becoming obese. The ultimate goal is to come up with appropriate health policies and medications that can disrupt the condition’s prevalence or incidence rate.
The concept of evidence-based public health is another powerful strategy for addressing the challenge of obesity. Public health professionals can use the P.E.R.I.E. approach to monitor the nature of the problem. The model begins by examining the nature of the problem (Salas, 2015). This information presents powerful insights that can be used to develop appropriate measures to deal with it. The second aspect of the approach is etiology. Under this step, epidemiologists will conduct detailed studies to understand the potential causes of obesity in the community. This means that some of the causes such as sedentary lifestyles, intake of sugary foods, and lack of exercise will be identified. The increasing number of fast-food outlets is another potential cause of obesity. Individuals who are overweight have increased chances of becoming obese.
The next phase is that of recommendations. During this process, health professionals will focus on several initiatives that can be put in place to transform the situation. Some of these strategies include empowering people to engage in exercises, advising them to eat healthy foods, encouraging obese/overweight persons to monitor their body mass indexes (BMIs). Fildes et al. (2015) indicate that people should be keen to reduce their BMIs to 25. This goal can be achieved by engaging in exercises and consuming healthy food materials.
After identifying these approaches, human services professionals can go a step further to implement powerful campaigns that can address the challenges associated with obesity. During this step, practitioners and public health workers can implement powerful campaigns to educate more people about the benefits of monitoring their BMIs. They should also be informed about the dangers associated with obesity. For instance, past studies have indicated that obesity is associated with several conditions such as cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, stroke, diabetes, and hypertension (Fildes et al., 2015). These illnesses should encourage more people to embrace evidence-based initiatives that can protect themselves from obesity. Finally, an evaluation should be done to monitor the effectiveness of the suggested or implemented interventions. Evaluation is a powerful strategy because it empowers epidemiologists and public health workers to revise existing models or implement new ones to achieve positive outcomes.
The ultimate goal of these two procedures should be to deal with this health problem. It is agreeable that obesity is a serious challenge that continues to claim the lives of many people. Children are also at risk of becoming overweight due to changing lifestyles (Broyles et al., 2015). That being the case, every intervention aimed at addressing this health challenge must consider the needs of children. Obese children might face discrimination in their schools or communities. Such individuals will also record poor grades. Salas (2015) acknowledges that overweight children are usually at risk of becoming obese as adults. Additionally, obesity predisposes many people to complications such as heart attacks, strokes, cancers, and cardiovascular diseases.
Every community is affected by different conditions and diseases that make it impossible for its members to achieve their potential. This discussion has revealed that every problem is associated with various complications that can affect people’s health outcomes. This is the reason why obesity is a risk factor for poor academic performance, stroke, and cardiovascular diseases. Public health workers must, therefore, use concepts such as P.E.R.I.E. and epidemiological transition models to deal with the obesity predicament.
Broyles, S. T., Dental, K. D., Church, T. S., Chaput, J. P., Fogelholm, M., Hu, G., … Katzmarzyk, P. T. (2015). The epidemiological transition and the global childhood obesity epidemic. International Journal of Obesity Supplements, 5, s3-s8. Web.
Fildes, A., Charlton, J., Rudisill, C., Littlejohns, P., Prevost, A. T., & Gulliford, M. C. (2015). Probability of an obese person attaining normal body weight: Cohort study using electronic health records. American Journal of Public Health, 106(9), e54-e59. Web.
Salas, X. R. (2015). The ineffectiveness and unintended consequences of the public health war on obesity. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 106(2), e79-e81. Web.
Silva, H. P., Padez, C., Moura, E. A., & Filgueiras, L. A. (2016). Obesity, hypertension, social determinants of health and the epidemiologic transition among traditional Amazonian populations. Annals of Human Biology, 43(4), 371-381. Web.