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Obesity as a Public Health Issue

University: Laureate International Universities

Code: PUBH6003

Learning Outcomes:

Apply systems thinking and an intersectoral approach to public health issues.

Answer

Introduction

Several complicated health issues are emerging day by day with the growth of obscure lifestyle and unhealthy food habits of the people. Obesity is one such issue that has become one of the major concerns of the public health experts. According to recent studies the prevalence of obesity has doubled in adults and children in the last few decades. The obesity rate among the adolescents has tripled in the last few years (Hoyt, Burnette & Auster-Gussman, 2014). In this essay the problems of obesity as a health issue has been discussed along with the roles of the stakeholders both in the health sector and outside have been analyzed. Probable solutions to this emerging problem and the role of the government in order to prevent obesity have also been suggested in the essay.  

Overview of the health issue

Obesity: 

Obesity indicates a condition that is characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in body. Obesity affects the general metabolism of the body and it hinders the important internals organs from proper functioning (Bombak, 2014). Health experts have linked obesity to a number of chronic diseases including heart disease.

Types of obesity

According to the health researchers there are three types of obesities based on a study on 4,000 obese adults.

  1. Obesity can be classified as following depending on the area of fat deposition:
  • Peripheral: This type of obesity indicates accumulation of the excess fat in the buttocks, hips and thighs (Bombak, 2014).
  • Central: This type of obesity indicates accumulation of  excessive fat in the abdominal area (Bombak, 2014).
  • Another type of obesity is the amalgamation of the two types of obesity which have been discussed previously (Bombak, 2014).

   2. There are two types of obesity depending on the association with other diseases:

  • Type 1 obesity: This type of obesity does not develop from any particular disease. Rather it is completely dependent on the excessive intake of calories and lack of enough physical activity.
  • Type 2 obesity: This type of obesity mainly emerges because of a certain disease. Such obesity is identified as the aftermath of the diseases such as Cushing Syndrome, hypothyroidism, insulinoma and polycystic ovarian disease. This type of obesity is accountable in less than 1% of total obesity cases (Ogden, Carroll, Kit & Flegal, 2014). In this type of obesity even on a little intake of the food, there is a chance of abnormal weight gain.

    3. Another classification of obesity can be done based on the number and size of the fat cells.

  • Adult type: This type of obesity has been majorly identified in the middle aged people and in this particular type of obesity the size of the fat cells increases.
  • Child type: This type of obesity is a more complex one and difficult to reduce as in this case the number of fat cells is increased.

Complications of the obesity: 

The major complexities which are associated with obesity are:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain cancers i.e, breast cancer, endometrial cancer and colon cancer
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fatty liver
  • infertility


Roles of the stakeholders

It is important for both the internal and the external stakeholders to treat the people with obesity with individual attention and care. For the health service providers it is important to treat obesity with compassion (Davies et al, 2014). In case of obesity the major problem lies in the psychological aspect of the patients. Obese people often do not consider obesity to be a disease and do not prefer to seek expertise. Therefore, the primary role of the health service providers is to make the obese people understand the gravity of obesity and the possible future complications that can emerge due to obesity. The stakeholders that can be instrumental in fighting the problem of obesity are:

  • International organizations like UN family- WHO, world Bank, ILO etc. They can be instrumental in creating the access to productive and sustainable development and the improvement of health in order to build a healthy community.
  • National and local Government: At several levels Government has the responsibility for disease prevention and disease protection in order to ensure healthy society.
  • Ministries of health, labor and safety and local municipal governments along with the NGOs perform as the stakeholders who can be instrumental in spreading the awareness against obesity (Brownson, Baker, Deshpande& Gillespie, 2017).
  • Health service providers: Health service organizations have a major role to play in order to ensure the prevention of obesity. It is important for them to provide proper advice and treatment to the people suffering from obesity.
  • The family members and peers also have important role to play. These people serve the purpose of motivators who can motivate the people with obesity so that they can avail proper treatment. According to studies people with obesity often suffer from lack of self confidence and depression and this hinders them from sharing their physical problems with the experts. Friends and family evidently can provide mental support and strength in order to fight against obesity.

Obstacles

The existing policies of several obesity prevention programs encounter certain obstacles. According to the reports of the Head Start which provides early childhood education through federal grants, the program faces several barriers in implementing the policies of obesity prevention program (Davies et al, 2014). One of the major problems that such programs face is the lack of capital. The recent studies have also shown that such programs fail to spread awareness among the youth effectively. The youth of the country suffering from obesity do not understand the gravity of the situation and the future problems that they might succumb to.

The key barriers with lack of time, money and knowledge also include certain cultural stigmas of the parents. Many share the belief that obesity is not curable and in case of child obesity problems the parents often are of the opinion that heavier children are healthier. Such beliefs often act as barriers in preventing obesity (Davies et al, 2014).

Recommendation

The detailed study associated with obesity has indicated that the prevention of this problem is possible and the stakeholders have a major role to play in the prevention of this chronic disease. Role of the local and central government is instrumental in spreading the awareness. Some of the recommended measures to fight obesity are:

  • Several public awareness campaigns against the stigmas related to obesity.
  • Different workshops and seminars can be arranged in the public institutions both educational institutions and others in order to make the youth aware of the future problems.
  • Several workplace awareness programs and policies can also prove to be helpful.


Conclusion

In the light of the above study it can be concluded that in spite of obesity being a chronic problem, it is possible to demolish obesity. Awareness among the citizens is mostly important in order to prevent obesity and build a healthier society.

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