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Childhood Obesity in African American Population (Essay Sample)


Develop a 9- to 12-page paper that outlines a health advocacy campaign designed to promote policies to improve the health of a population of your choice. This week, you will establish the framework for your campaign by identifying a population health concern of interest to you. You will then provide an overview of how you would approach advocating for this issue.
Population health concern: Childhood Obesity in African American Population 
you will consider legal and regulatory factors that have an impact on the issue
you will identify ethical concerns that you could face as an advocate
continue by considering how laws and regulations can shape the way you advocate for and attempt to implement your proposed policy.
Identifying a Problem
To prepare:
• Select a population health issue of interest to you and identify the population affected by the issue.
• Locate two scholarly articles, each of which provides a description of an effective health advocacy program that addresses your issue. 
• Analyze the attributes of the programs to determine what made them effective.
• Reflect on a policy you could propose or a change to a current policy to further improve the health of the population you selected with regard to the issue.
• Consider how you could develop an advocacy program, applying the attributes identified in similar, effective programs.
To complete: 
For this section of your paper (approximately 3–4 pages in length) address the following:
• Describe your selected population health issue and the population affected by this issue.
• Summarize the advocacy programs you researched in this area.
• Explain the attributes that made those programs effective.
• Develop a plan for a health advocacy campaign that seeks to create a new policy or change an existing policy with regard to the issue and population you selected. Be sure to include in your plan: 
o A description of the public health issue and proposed policy solution 
o Specific objectives for the policy you want to be implemented
o The means by which you will convey information to various stakeholders on the need for this policy change 
o Be sure your proposed need is substantiated by data and evidence.
o Methods of establishing support for the policy, including how to influence policymakers 
• Explain how the attributes of the effective advocacy programs you researched could be applied to your proposed advocacy campaign.
Legal Considerations
To prepare:
• Review Chapter 3 of Health Policy and Politics: A Nurse’s Guide (3rd ed.) to determine methods of influencing the political process. 
• Reflect on whether the policy you would like to promote could best be achieved through the development of new legislation, or a change in an existing law or regulation.
• Contemplate in what ways existing laws or regulations may impact how you proceed in advocating for your proposed policy. 
• Consider how you could influence legislators or other policymakers to enact the policy you would like to propose.
• Think about the obstacles of the legislative process that may prevent your proposed policy from being implemented as intended. 
To complete:
For this section of your paper (approximately 3–4 pages in length) address the following: 
• Explain whether your proposed policy could be enacted through a modification of existing law or regulation or the creation of new legislation/regulation.
• Explain how existing laws or regulations could impact your advocacy efforts.
• Provide an analysis of the methods you could use to influence legislators or other policymakers to support your policy. In particular, explain how you would use the “three legs” of lobbying in your advocacy efforts. 
• Summarize the obstacles you anticipate arising in the legislative process and how you could overcome these hurdles. 
Paquin, S. O. (2011). Social justice advocacy in nursing: What is it? How do we get there? Creative Nursing, 17(2), 63–67.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
• Milstead, J. A. (2012). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
• Chapter 4, “Government Regulation: Parallel and Powerful” (pp. 73–109)
This chapter explains the major concepts of the regulation of health professionals, with emphasis on advanced practice nurses (APN) and the process of licensure and credentialing.


Childhood Obesity in African American Population
The obstacles that thwart children’s access to quality meals pose such children to potential risk of obesity and malnutrition. This has very serious implications to the wellbeing of America’s posterity. To curb this problem, The House Education and Labor Committee released a legislation to increase child nutrition levels into America’s population known as Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act. The program is aims at reducing child hunger; improve quality of foods sold to children in schools and to promote education for nutrition. Communities at risk of overweight due to reduced access to healthy and quality foods stand to benefit most.
Since 1980, the number of obese children has risen rapidly and currently, there are as many as thrice three times they were then. Child obesity somewhat seems to have a prevalence to some communities. According to Sonia 2010, the rate of child obesity in African-Americans stands at 35.9 percent while at only 29.3 percent in the white population. Child obesity prevalence rises faster in African-American populations than in their white counterparts. For instance in the years between 1986 and 1998, there has been more than a 120 percentage increase in racial groups while only a 50 percent growth was reported in the whites population (Sekhar, 2010).
Obesity exposes people to higher risks of cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes type 2 and joint dislocations. Productivity is lost in obese adults and hundreds of billions get used up in settling health care plans for such people. In the long run, obesity can be dismal in overall public health service and especially, on the economic aspect. Disparities in the prevalence could have devastating effects to the country’s economy as the minority populations are expected to grow to half the population by the year 2050. By reducing the obesity levels, the overall cost will be minimal (Sekhar, 2010).
House Education and Labor Committee identify eating patterns and access to quality food choices as the main reason behind the rapid increase in obesity levels. Other factors that come to the play are environmental factors such as low quality built environment leading to a state of low physical activities; culturally induced attitudes about body mass and abridged access to basic health care. Income, culture and other social dynamics are variables factors (Sekhar, 2010)..
NAACP Childhood Obesity Advocacy program is another program developed to address the issue of obesity in children. NAACP identifies obesity as the most important issue to address in social circles. Its policy address on of the three main policies that lead rapid increase in obesity: built environment; food environment and school-based policies (HELP US CURB CHILDHOOD OBESITY).
Ultimately, the program aims at changing the policies to help in alleviating the problem of obesity among African-American children. NAACP discourages the notion that obesity is genetically inherited rather it is due poor social behaviors.
Built environment is one of the areas to start with when dealing with the obesity issue. Most American neighborhoods are set in a way that prevents physical activities e.g. schools that do not endorse physical activities and that have limited access to quality foods from the community.
Culturally, African-Americans are less likely to perceive themselves as overweight compared to their white counterparts. Many women tend to be satisfied with their overweight bodies and perceive themselves attractive. The perception will only change when the person becomes overweight. To develop the right weight of a particular person, there need to be a perception on the current weight of a person.
Both advocate programs have some attributes that make the programs effective. However, the programs have not been able to successfully solve the problem of obesity in the African American populace. Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act has taken several measures to try and solve the problem. For instance, it expands the Afterschool meal to many states in America and also supports for improvement in the certification for school meals. In addition to that, it also enhances the quality of food served in school-based meals as well as preschool settings. Out of school, the advocacy program has also setup strategies to help it to achieve its goals. Afterschool meals programs run in 13 states which work as a pilot for other states. It also creates a super program through the National School Lunch Program to eliminate the bureaucracies involved in getting the food to the consumers.
NAACP effectiveness is attributed to a series of its advocacy programs. First, to solve problems of obesity associated with built environment, it advocates for an improved public transportation system, enhanced recreational activities, better access to schools playgrounds outside the normal school hours and an improved school program to give the children more breaks in between classes. Secondly an improved access to healthy food in the food stores and the grocery stores was also another attribute that led to its effectiveness. Lastly, the school based policies had to be affected to accommodate the trending changes. In the school based policies, there would be increased involvement of the students in physical activities as well as provision to more nutritious foods in and out of school.
Even though the policies have been effective, there are still a large number of children from the African American population reported to be overweight or obese. Below are some few policies that could change in order to increase the efficiency of the programs.
The two programs are highly inclined to the general population health care. As we have seen earlier, obesity has prevalence in the minority African Americans who compared with their white counterparts had a higher percentage of obese. To increase the efficiency of the programs, there are few policies that would need an overhaul.
Both advocacy programs do not put much concern on the socioeconomic status of the groups that are prone to obesity. The food policy would be of much benefit if quality food was made available at a lower rate than the cheaper food which puts the populations at a higher risk of obesity. For instance, even as the advocacy programs try to address the problem of access to quality food, accessibility is thwarted by the low income the affected populations get.
Reducing the number of obese people, it would require one to consider several aspects of the cause of the problem. It would also need one to be aware of the disparities in respect to race and income as some of the most contributing factors towards developing an effective approach to the problem.
The most fundamental goal of health care is to expand coverage to Americans and reduce health racial and ethnic disparities among other factors that may affect provision of quality services. Most advocacy programs provide very strong foundations for addressing the issue in childhood obesity but they hardly focus on the issues of race and ethnicity as factors to consider while implementing an advocacy program. Conversely, the implementers of the advocacy programs have access to data form different arms of the health sector with which to base their programs in. To understand the issue of health disparities, a better method of collecting data may be needed to equip the policy makers with enough evidence and estimates of the populations affected most. Understanding health disparity issues will inform the decisions made inclusive of wellness and prevention programs that help reduce the levels and also slow down the rate at which the African Americans are becoming obese. Some of the issues leading to obesity are related to culture of a particular group of people. There is a high necessity to address the issue of culture without necessarily having to change the way of a people. What would be endorsed here is a dynamic culture that would rationally relate some of the conventions to what needs to be done away with.
One of the best ways to reduce obesity in regard to racial disparity is to first reduce the socioeconomic and geographical factors that impede access to better services. Higher weight rates and low exercise rates are common among groups of people with large numbers of obese people. Wellness programs for the affected communities should be highly endorsed in their policies (The Significance of Childhood Obesity in Communities of Color).
In developing the advocacy program to focus on obesity through the racial disparity perspectives, there are numerous attributes that can be borrowed from previous policies. These attributes will help with the effectiveness of the advocacy program. These attributes would be selected towards achieving reducing the number of obese people. They are as follows:
The first attribute will be based on factors limited by the environment. NAACP attributes obesity to being caused primarily by physical inactivity due to environmental factors such as lack of play areas. Most African Americans live sedentary lives especially as age advances. Therefore, encouraging them to take part in physical exercises is a step towards preventing obesity in the populations. This is because sedentary lifestyles results to a body using way less calories than is produced in the body.
Expansion of the health advocacy programs to more than one state is fundamental for assessing the effectiveness of an advocacy program. Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act advocacy programs spreads in more than one state. By doing so, there is a significant effect and one can assess what works and what does not work when you compare the statistics of different areas under the same program.
Both advocacy programs, NAAC and Imp...
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