Developing a Children Obesity Advocacy Campaign Part 2
First Name, Last Name
The rise in the overall increase of child obesity cases over the last couple of decades has demonstrated the need for developing an advocacy campaign to combat this issue. The proposed policy including the Childhood Obesity Mentoring Program has the potential to promote healthier lifestyles among millions of children who are at the risk of being affected by obesity. This paper details how the proposed policy will be enacted, the effect that the existing policies will have on my advocacy efforts, the methods that used in influencing legislators and the possible obstacles that will be encountered during the legislative process.
Enactment of Proposed Policy through Modification of Existing Law- IMPACT Act.
Currently, there are several existing policies and programs designed to address childhood obesity. One such law is the Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity Act (IMPACT) (H.R. 2677) which was first introduced in the Senate on 28th June 2005. Despite its enactment and adoption by different states, recent surveys indicate that there is still growth in the number of obese children all over the nation (Kristensen et al., 2014). Therefore, there is need to modify this policy. Currently, IMPACT only covers expansion of grant programs for training health professional students in treatment of obesity, overweight and eating disorders (Chapman, 2015). Modification should be made so that the policy also extends to educating patients, families, and communities on the risks, social and health effects and preventative measures associated with childhood obesity (Van Grouw & Volpe, 2013). In other words, IMPACT should be modified to include the proposed Childhood Obesity Mentoring Program (COMP). Extension of training to the mentioned group will aid physicians, psychologists, and nutritionists to deliver better care for the obese children and prevent the issue.
Effect of Existing Policies on Advocacy Efforts
Although no single existing law or program can entirely prevent and reduce cases of childhood obesity within the US, the current federal, state, local and community policies and programs will be vital in reducing obesogenic environments among children. These policies will provide a background of what was previously done and aid in assessing what has been achieved using recent survey data (Kristensen et al., 2014). Basing on the existing laws and programs, much better obesity policies and applications will be developed with the aim of making improvements to the existing one and achieving the overall goal of reducing childhood obesity. Different states have already enacted and adopted different laws on this issue including policies on school nutrition, physical education, insurance coverage, school wellness programs, taxes and tax exemptions and joint shared use agreements. These programs and laws have already been assessed by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) (2014), and the most effective one was determined to be taxes and tax exemptions on different products of children. Basing on this information, one can conclude that some programs and legislation are more effective than others. Therefore, the existing policies will not impede my advocacy efforts, but they will act as a backbone of building my advocacy campaign.
Methods of Influencing Legislators
Advocacy of the proposed childhood obesity and program will rest on the three-legged stool approach. As the name suggests, this method comprises three elements including direct lobbying, the media and the grassroots (Kindig, Asada & Booske, 2008). The first element primarily involves the cultivation of relationships with the policymakers or the decision makers in policy shaping. For this proposed policy and program, relationship building will be through writing a letter to a policymaker demonstrating support for a similar policy and making recommendations for its improvement (Dawes, 2014). The message will be formal and addressed to the office of a specific decision maker such as a member of Congress, the president of the United States among others. This suggests that the relationship built is strictly professional and not casual.
Secondly, I will use several communication strategies through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, the print media such as newspapers to demonstrate my support and position on the children obesity policies. Even though media consumption continues to undergo many challenges, advertising through conventional mass media methods remains a very cost-effective method of relaying consistent messages to large audiences. While COMP’s adoption of mass media advertisement channels may change in the future, the above-highlighted vehicles of mass media remain to be the foundation of COMP’s advertising mix. COMP will also develop Public Service Announcements that will provide critical information about the hospital related services. Additionally, press releases will be distributed in different media centers whenever it is appropriate for them to do so, assuming they are communicating the activities of the hospital they are partnering (Knickman & Kovner, 2015).
Thirdly, the grassroots are an essential element of this method of influencing legislators. Therefore, the first step in involving people at the grassroots is through engaging supporters in the identification of ways of incorporating the Childhood Obesity Mentoring Program. Secondly, demonstrating leadership through sharing expertise, knowledge and strategic thinking while also relinquishing some control will help in gaining the support of people in the grassroots level (Kristensen et al., 2014). Therefore, winning the support of these individuals will also be significant in influencing legislators and policymakers.
Possible Obstacles in the Legislative Process
Although modification of the existing laws on childhood obesity (IMPACT) may seem straightforward, some obstacles may ...