Table of Contents
The increasing prevalence of obesity has become a major cause for concern in the American society. Notably, obesity increases the vulnerability of developing other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. For this reason, the increasing prevalence of obesity is likely to compromise the health of Americans and register negative health outcomes (McKee et al., 2010). For this reason, healthcare providers have given attention to the need for the development of effective strategies that seek to empower the population to prevent and manage obesity. The recent statistics indicate that obesity prevalence among children and adolescents is also significantly higher. Unlike in the past, a greater percentage of the population is vulnerable to developing Type II diabetes. In the recent past, there have been numerous strategies that sought to reduce the prevalence of obesity and register positive health outcomes. Notably, the various strategies have registered a diverse range of outcomes. This paper will evaluate the outcomes of some of the interventions developed to reduce the prevalence of obesity.
A meta-analysis conducted by Sim et al. (2016) explored the effectiveness of various primary care interventions that seek to prevent obesity in children. In the recent years, many scholars have carried out studies to determine the effectiveness of various strategies implemented to reduce childhood obesity. One of the interventions has been the screening and behavioral counseling targeting children. Physicians have been working with pregnant mothers to ensure that they embrace a healthier lifestyle as a form of precaution in preventing childhood obesity. The numerous brief intervention strategies have registered some impacts in helping parents to understand the some of the measures they can take in the reduction of obesity prevalence. Notably, many of the brief primary interventions targeting children have proven to be quite effective in helping mothers to prevent childhood obesity.
There is evidence that the surveillance of the body mass index and the regular counseling by a physician or healthcare provider can register positive outcomes in the prevention of childhood obesity. It is explicit that the brief primary care interventions have sought to bring on board parents in helping them to recognize their role in the prevention of obesity. The increasing prevalence of childhood obesity has motivated many nations and states to embrace different measures in the prevention of the disease (Sim et al., 2016). The meta-analysis presents evidence from various studies that investigated different brief interventions. A meta-analysis does not focus only on the randomized controlled trials. For this reason, the level of evidence may be low, but the article helps in appreciating that different forms of interventions can register positive outcomes in the prevention of obesity.
One of the common strategies used to prevent obesity among young children has been counseling. Parents of young children need to understand the basic approaches of intervention as a way of preventing childhood obesity. A recent study by McKee et al. (2010) sought to determine the effectiveness of primary care-based interventions in reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. The counseling programs provide parents with adequate information on how to embrace family lifestyle changes. Through counseling, the parents become aware of the need to embrace healthier eating habits within the family setting as a way of preventing childhood obesity. These counseling programs can change the perspectives of parents toward food. There is a need for parents to recognize their role in promoting better health outcomes through the family diet. If parents introduce children to a healthy diet from the infant stage, cases of childhood obesity will reduce significantly. The counseling programs represent health promotion practices that health care providers carry out to provide the identified target population with critical health information (McKee et al., 2010). In the long term basis, such counseling programs are likely to register positive outcomes because they seek to transform the manner in which people embrace a healthier lifestyle.
One of the main approaches used in the development of effective intervention strategies is the concept of starting early. Researchers have identified that the causes of childhood obesity accumulate over time (Messito et al., 2013). Unhealthy eating habits and the lack of physical activity contributes significantly to childhood obesity. Pregnant women begin to develop a greater understanding of how they can embrace a healthier lifestyle to reduce childhood obesity. Healthcare providers have a role to play in this intervention because they need to help pregnant women and mothers to understand the risk factors associated with chronic conditions such as obesity. The concept of starting early has been able to register positive outcomes in the prevention of obesity in children. For this reason, it is evident that the school systems, as well as parents, have to work closely on implementing early programs that prevent childhood obesity.
Based on the outcomes of the study, it is clear that taking an early initiative to educate mothers on the prevention of obesity can exhibit positive results. Many programs implemented at various levels have integrated the concept of starting early with the core objective of demonstrating the long-term effects of the approach. For this reason, the study by Messito et al. (2013) succeeded in demonstrating that starting early is an effective concept in obesity prevention programs. The participants in the study gained awareness of the potential ways in which they can reduce the cases of obesity among their children. These programs also have an impact on the general population because they educate both parents and invite them to spread the message to others. Undoubtedly, the study conducted by Messito et al. (2013) attained success in establishing how to integrate obesity prevention programs in sessions that target pregnant women.
In the view of Taylor et al. (2015), a family-based approach is likely to register higher levels of effectiveness. Particularly, Taylor et al. (2015) sought to investigate the outcomes of a two-year family-based intervention program. Notably, the design of the program was dependent on the unique needs of the family. Particularly, the researchers utilized different approaches to tailor the program to meet the needs of the families. The programs involved different goals specific to each family. As a result, the program addressed the unique needs of every family and was able to register positive outcomes. The main objective of the program was to introduce a change in the family lifestyle that would establish control on the body mass index of children. The family-tailored programs proved effective in helping families register positive outcomes in the prevention of obesity. The article explored a unique aspect that should define obesity prevention programs. When targeting children and adolescents, the involvement of parents and the entire family is of critical importance. For this reason, tailored-family-based programs are likely to register positive outcomes in the prevention of childhood obesity (Taylor et al., 2015). The parents are in a position to make informed decisions concerning the health of their children. The study did not investigate the perceptions of the young people towards healthy living.
Modern-day interventions for obesity have embraced an integrated approach. The reason for embracing the integrated approach is to ensure that the intervention strategy can register long-term effects in the prevention of obesity. The integrated approach combines dietary changes through the help of a dietician and several sessions with the health care providers. The integrated approach was evident in a study conducted by Ebbeling and Antonelli (2015) that sought to investigate the effects of an integrated intervention strategy at the primary care level. The study targeted parents and children and sought to develop a reliable approach to the prevention and treatment of obesity. The health care providers compelled participants to focus on various approaches to reducing childhood obesity. The program was able to yield positive outcomes irrespective of its narrow approach. It became clear that an integrated approach is likely to register desirable outcomes because it combines approaches that have proven successful in addressing childhood obesity (Ebbeling & Antonelli (2015). In the modern day, there are effective strategies for reducing childhood obesity and promoting health outcomes. The integration enables the parents involved to learn important lessons regarding the implementation of the integrated approach.
In the twenty-first century, obesity prevention programs have extended to include schools. The revelation that children and adolescents spend many hours of their day in school makes justifiable for the programs to highlight roles for schools. The provision of healthier meals in schools is one of the most effective strategies that demonstrate the effectiveness of healthy eating. Previously, many schools had been consuming unhealthy meals. However, as Wilksch (2011) depicted, schools that embrace healthier diets register a significant contribution to the prevention of childhood obesity. Many schools adopting these programs often provide the learners with a background understanding of the objective of healthy eating. The change in the school diet coupled with healthy eating lessons can register long-term effects. The participation of schools in the call to reduce the prevalence of obesity is commendable.
The schools prepare young children and adolescents on how to consume healthier diets even on their own. These programs have been tailored to ensure that the schools have direct control over the food choices made. The provision of nutritional education serves as a long-term strategy because the children will recognize the importance of a healthier diet from a tender age (Wilksch, 2011). The emerging roles of schools in the prevention of obesity highlight the purpose of training children in the right way since childhood. The program succeeded in demonstrating the underlying roles of schools in the prevention of obesity. Programs introduced at the school level may lead to desirable health outcomes in the future. These programs represent an effective way of nurturing a future generation that makes conscious decisions when it comes to healthy eating.
We can do it today.
The United States can emulate some of the effective intervention strategies used in other countries in the prevention of obesity. The study by Foo et al. (2013) investigated the approaches used by Singapore to prevent and manage obesity. The study outlines the various approaches that Singapore used in preventing obesity among children and adults. Notably, Singapore has experienced adverse health outcomes due to the prevalence of obesity. The country adopted an approach that helped in registering more positive outcomes among different population groups. In Singapore, the Health Promotion Board plays the role of coordinating different programs that seek to reduce obesity prevalence. The board targets all the vulnerable groups as a way of ensuring that the people make wiser decisions as a way of preventing obesity.
Singapore has registered positive outcomes through the implementation of health-promoting public policies as well as guidelines. The board in charge of the policies ensures that there are limits of food advertising targeting children and emphasis on healthier eating. All the companies carrying out advertising must meet the expected standards in Singapore if they would like to continue advertising. There is a direct form of regulation that helps in enhancing the capacity of all the citizens to reduce the prevalence of obesity. A similar study in the United Kingdom by Haslam (2014) demonstrated that primary care is of critical importance in the management of obesity. The study revealed that a country could use different approaches when targeting various populations. In the United Kingdom, screening and risk management represents the leading approaches to reducing obesity.
Many studies have explored the effectiveness of various strategies in the prevention and management of obesity. Many of the studies discussed above were able to demonstrate some positive outcomes in the prevention of obesity. It is necessary for the United States to adopt a combined approach that will utilize different strategies in educating the public and helping people with obesity to manage the condition successfully. The integrated approach will help in increasing both the short-term and long-term effects of obesity prevention. There is a need for future studies to carry out a comparative study that investigates the most effective strategy. The healthcare sector needs to embrace the role of managing and collaborating different programs implemented at various levels. The primary intervention for obesity is effective when dealing with adolescents and younger children. If parents have the necessary information and knowledge, they can easily reduce the cases of obesity among children and adolescents.
- Ebbeling, C. B., & Antonelli, R. C. (2015). Primary Care Interventions for Pediatric Obesity: Need for an Integrated Approach. Pediatrics, 135(4), 757-758.
- Foo, L., Vijaya, K., Sloan, R., & Ling, A. (2013). Obesity prevention and management: Singapore’s experience. Obesity Reviews, 14, 106-113.
- Haslam, D. (2014). Obesity in primary care: prevention, management and the paradox. BMC Medicine, 12(1).
- McKee, M. D., Maher, S., Deen, D., & Blank, A. E. (2010). Counseling to Prevent Obesity Among Preschool Children: Acceptability of a Pilot Urban Primary Care Intervention. Annals of Family Medicine, 8(3), 249.
- Messito, M. J., Mendelsohn, A. L., Taylor Lucas, C., Gross, M., & Gross, R. (2013). Starting Early: Primary Care-Based Obesity Prevention Beginning in Pregnancy. Journal Of Nutrition Education & Behavior, 45(4S), S10-S11.
- Sim, L. A., Lebow, J., Zhen, W., Koball, A., & Murad, M. H. (2016). Brief Primary Care Obesity Interventions: A Meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 138(4), 1-11.
- Taylor, R. W., Cox, A., Knight, L., Brown, D. A., Meredith-Jones, K., Haszard, J. J., & … Williams, S. M. (2015). A Tailored Family-Based Obesity Intervention: A Randomized Trial. Pediatrics, 136(2), 282-289.
- Wilksch, S. (2011). Role of schools in prevention of obesity and eating disorders. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, 5, 10.