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Obesity Issue in Oklahoma Research Paper

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Updated: Oct 30th, 2021

Introduction

Obesity refers to a body condition whereby the natural energy reserve which is usually stored in form of fatty tissue (in humans and other animals) exceeds the body’s healthy limits. Obesity has become a great public health concern all over the world, a major reason for the concern being its contribution to various diseases and disorders.

For instance cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus type 2 results from obesity (Ben. 2007).The United States is one of the worlds’ nations that is leading in obesity incidences. One of the United States region, Oklahoma represents one of America’s most affected region.

Statement of the problem

In our current world, a huge number of medical conditions or complications have been associated with obesity. The complications arise either from increased fat mass or an increased number of the fat cells. Health problems that result from increased fat mass include, social stigma, obstructive sleep, apnea, and osteoarthritis. Those that result from increased number of fat cells include, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease.

Individuals who have obesity are usually at a high risk of developing such complications and may even lose their lives, with individuals who have a BMI of over 32 are at a double risk of death. There is a rapid increase in obesity cases in the Western society as a result of excessive amounts of nutrient intake and peoples’ sedentary lifestyle.

Overeating has remained a problem in the developed countries even after widespread availability of the nutritional information on the Internet, medical institutions and product packaging. Though measures to prevent or reduce obesity have been developed , more effective and urgent means need to be taken to successfully address this problem.

History

In the United States, Oklahoma ranks as one of the US city that has the greatest number of people suffering from obesity. In 2003, it ranked 14th in relation to the high level of adult obesity in the nation and came 15th in recording the highest overweight high school student level. In the same year, Oklahoma spent an approximated $243 per person on obesity related medical costs with the medical cost being the 33rd highest medical amount in the US.

In addition to this Oklahoma City ranked 15th as the America’s one of the most fattest cities in 2007. The obesity epidemic has kept on spreading even as the US government continues to develop measures of fighting the epidemic while the epidemic has great weight on the America’s ailing system, which is driving it to a very extreme end. American’s obesity has continued to lead to escalating disease costs and rates.

Apart from Oklahoma, other states in the US has one third of the children overweight or at a risk of being obese. For the last 20 years, the US has experienced a double rate of obesity in children, while the rate has tripled in adolescents. The hospital costs that take care of obesity cases have continued to rise with costs tripling in the past 20 years.

Consequently, medical conditions as a result of obesity keep increasing. For instance, children under 18 years are estimated to be at a risk for type 2 diabetes, while a half of new diagnoses of type 2 diabetes due to overweight is in adolescents. The current situation of obesity in Oklahoma demands immediate and effective measures to either minimize the incidences or to prevent obesity.

Thesis Statement

In the past, the US government has made efforts to develop and implement measures that have been aimed at fighting the obesity epidemic. However, the government has been criticized as failing to have aggressive, well coordinated, national and state strategies that address the obesity crisis. If not well addressed, the obesity epidemic is only bound to make the current situation worse (America’s Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences. Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 750).

The obesity epidemic is a great threat to the American peoples’ health and its economy which makes it impossible to ignore the complications that arise from excess weight. It is a great concern that the mortality rate from the health complications keep on increasing, while the nation is spending over $117 billion per year to address both the direct and indirect costs of obesity.

The effects of obesity in Oklahoma demands immediate action to stop the spreading epidemic. To do this, there is need to develop measures and programs that should ensure that there is collaboration between the US government and the public. There is need for the state policies and actions to integrate the public fully in their implementation. In the past, government programs have not been able to integrate the public to fully participate in solving the crisis.

For instance, the public does not participate fully in giving their views and suggestions on the way forward as well as to participate in the implementation process. Public participation in government and state driven programs needs to be maximized while the programs made aggressive, well coordinated and immediate.

Proposal

The proposals major recommendation is the development and implementation of more aggressive and well coordinated national and state strategies which allow public participation in addressing the obesity epidemic.

Objectives of the proposal

Immediate action is the only option to address the obesity crisis before it spreads further in Oklahoma. One of the objectives of the proposed program is to increase public awareness in people on how serious the obesity epidemic is to them and the nation since it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of their physical well being and the country’s.

It is clear that though Oklahoma is one of the US state leading in obesity incidences, the incidences continue to increase at a very high rate. This has increased the need for the public to acknowledge that obesity is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

The second objective will be to gain people’s support and attention in relation to the school food and physical activity programs. This will be done by ensuring that the programs are aggressive in activities that are undertaken and are also well coordinated. The public’s support for proper diet that controls the amount of food intake (high-fat) will be a sure way to solving diet-related obesity.

The third objective will be to incorporate the public in government or state programs by creating a sense of responsibility and accountability in people, which is the best solution in preventing obesity epidemic within a short time.

All the causes of obesity are related to public lifestyle, environment they live in, family background or their health condition. Since all the causes of obesity are always related to how people live and interact with each or with the environment, the success of reducing or preventing obesity incidences will highly depend on changing people’s habits and attitudes. For instance, a food program that aims at promoting low-fat intake foods requires the support of parents or the public. When the public fails to change its lifestyle, interaction and attitude, the program is bound to fail.

The Need to Adopt the Proposal

The adoption of this proposal’s recommendation that government, state polices and strategies address the obesity crisis by integrate the public in the decision making and implementation is the most effective due to the expected programs increased ability to address the root causes of obesity. The proposal will promote the centralization of the obesity related public education campaigns which will create or increase public awareness.

Through public participation, the state or government health officials will be better able to understand and contain the epidemic. Furthermore, the people will only be willing to participate if they accept/identify there is a problem that needs to be addressed with their assistance. The developed programs will make people realize that there is a problem which they need to solve by working with the government and the state. This will win the people’s support for the programs.

Officials can assist the state create effective control and prevention programs based on the facts that can be found on the ground. For instance, the health officials will be able to investigate the root causes and origin of poor eating habits, or physical activity if they work together with the people.

Though community programs have been developed in Oklahoma, the public has not been able to participate in addressing the obesity epidemic. The public’s integration in the programs will make them appreciate the recognition accorded to them by the government or the state in addressing the crisis. The support that they failed to give to the programs previously will be a thing of the past and the solutions that people will recommend are no doubt going to be very instrumental in improving the strategies to give better results.

Both federal and state programs that aim at addressing the obesity crisis can better receive checks and balances through programs that incorporate public participation. For instance, how effective the obesity research and programs are can be regularly evaluated by the public and inadequate funds to combat obesity will be increased through increased public grants.

For instance, the CDC Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity receive grants that cannot support the programs. When the public is involved in the programs a sense of ownership and responsibility will encourage people to increase the grants.

It is also worth noting that unhealthy eating habits can be easily eliminated when the public becomes conscious of their diet. People will practice healthy eating habits, making food with a high fat content have no room in the market. Consolidation of state policies and actions that aim at solving the obesity epidemic will be possible when the public is allowed to give suggestion on how the policies and actions should be well implemented for success. For example, the public will be able to improve the access to low-cost nutritious food in low-income areas.

Opposing Solutions

In Oklahoma, public education programs have already been developed and are being implemented (Murphy, Sean.2008) where the public community is given knowledge necessary to prevent and control obesity epidemic. Community programs that work with the locals of Oklahoma’s smaller regions have to some extent incorporated members of the community in running their programs.

It is therefore not very vital to develop new government and state programs that integrate the public because the present programs over time will be able to integrate a greater number of people. It is advisable therefore to wait and give the already existing programs a chance to deliver before any measures are taken to establish new programs.

However, this opposing solution fails to address immediately the problem of obesity epidemic since it advocates for delay in addressing the root cause of the problem. Developing community programs that do not integrate the public fully will minimize the how effective the programs are. There will have a smaller number of people acquiring the necessary knowledge about obesity, which will in turn result to fewer people taking measures to prevent obesity.

A fully- public integrating program will promote greater public awareness to a large number of people, which makes it more valid than the present community programs. For instance, Oklahoma’s students examination between farm-to-school program which promotes better understanding in students will be more effective if a larger number of students, schools and farmers were involved.

Another opposing solution is that the current community programs promote public participation but it is the public that has shown little response to participate. The failure of public participation in community programs is not due to the program’s lack of integrating them. The public’s little response is what has undermined the programs success but not how the programs are developed or implemented.

However, the current community programs operations cannot address the obesity issue properly. Lack of awareness in the public on how to participate, or and where to find the programs’ offices is to be blamed for low participation. A more valid solution would be to continue increasing public awareness tirelessly, to win more people to participate.

Conclusion

The obesity epidemic has been and continues to be a serious problem in Oklahoma which leaves no doubt that something needs to be done urgently. In addition, urgent and effective measures need to be taken. The current measures though good, are not good enough to address the obesity epidemic urgently. The US government and the state of Oklahoma have worked very hard to address the obesity issue. For instance, government policies have put into consideration the obesity issue in their efforts to deal with the problem.

The most important thing right now would be to work with the public who are directly concerned with the root cause. For instance, parents/guardians are responsible for their children’s eating habits. Because addressing the medical costs of obesity through policies will not solve diet-related obesity, creating awareness about healthy eating habits leaves no doubt that it will solve obesity incidences arising from unhealthy eating habits.

The solution that will fully integrate the public in government and state programs is the most cost effective because the voluntary participation by the public will minimize the costs incurred in advertising and public campaigns. The failure of public participation has made switching to other methods of creating awareness necessary, which have not been very effective in changing the public’s opinion and habits, though they have used a lot of resources.

Medical costs incurred to treat obesity related complications will reduce through better programs since the root cause of the problem will be addressed by public participation rather that addressing the symptoms, where the programs will require minimal amount of funds.

Works cited

America’s Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences. Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 750, US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Washington, DC, pp. 213– 239. Full text index.

Ben, Rabun.Child Obesity in Oklahoma Costly Possibly Fatal News, 2007. Web.

Oklahoma Obesity Programs. Web.

Murphy, Sean.Oklahoma City Mayor Puts City on a Diet. Associated Press Write. Oklahoma City 2008. Oklahoma Ranks 14th in Nation for Obesity New Reports finds state and Federal Obesity Policies are failing. Web.

Students Examine between Farm-to-school program. Web.

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