Obesity And Public Health Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Not Specified Type: Essay Paper: #81962038 Related Topics: Smoking In Public, Public Vs Private, Public Health, Obesity
Excerpt from Essay :

Government Health Initiatives:

Obesity and public health

Given the rise in obesity rates in the United States, prioritizing reducing the prevalence of this illness has become a critical cornerstone of many federal, state, and local health agencies. Because the federal government encompasses the USDA and the FDA which set health and safety standards for the foods consumed in the U.S. As well as offer nutritional guidelines, the federal government can exert a profound influence upon consumption habits. The government has also overseen a number of anti-obesity campaigns. First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative is perhaps the most notable of these: it focuses on increasing physical activity and improving the diet of America's children. "Research indicated that kids needed less sugar, salt and fat in their diets, so we revamped school lunch menus accordingly. When data showed that the lack of nearby grocery stores negatively affected people's eating habits, we worked to get more fresh-food retailers into underserved areas. Studies on habit formation in young children drove our efforts to get healthier food and more physical activity into child care centers" (Obama 2014). There have also been calls for Congress to "provide explicit direction to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to restrict the advertisement of unhealthy foods during children's programming" (Mikailova 2014).

On the state level, state health agencies have also acted as advocates for change. The "Stop Sugarcoating It, Georgia" television...

...

"The ads are modeled after anti-smoking and anti-methamphetamine campaigns intended to shock the audience" (Lohr 2012). An Ohio initiative provides fund to local counties to "work with their early childhood education centers, healthcare systems and providers (both public and private), public health providers (such as Head Start), and other community partners (like YMCAs) to coordinate parent -centered education around physical activity and nutrition" ("Ohio," 2013). The principles behind virtually all the state initiatives are very similar to those of the federal one -- that children need to eat less and move more, although the state ones have the advantage of using local resources and initiatives to realize their goals, tailoring their approach to suit the community's needs. Federal initiatives set broad policy goals while state and local health entities effective 'fill in the blanks' so those objectives can be reached.

However, obesity is a complex, multi-factorial problem and fighting it has proven to be challenging because of different levels of commitment at the state and even the federal agency level. For example, urging people to eat less actually hurts the goals of the USDA, which is charged with protecting the responsibilities of farmers and their interests. Advocating that people eat less, particularly of the grain-based and meat products sold by farmers, is thus not a particularly popular position by the agency. "The U.S. Department of Agriculture develops nutrition guidelines that creates a conflict of interest…because the agency also promotes commodities like corn and sugar - common ingredients in unhealthy foods……

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Conflict of interest in USDA nutrition guidelines, doctors say. (2011). IBTimes

Retrieved from: http://www.ibtimes.com/conflict-interest-usda-nutrition-guidelines-doctors-say-364426

Lohr, K. (2014). Controversy swirls around harsh anti-obesity ads. NPR.

Retrieved from: http://www.npr.org/2012/01/09/144799538/controversy-swirls-around-harsh-anti-obesity-ads


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