Community Health Problem
The community health problem of childhood obesity has been prevalent in many nations in the current world. The developed world, mostly the US has been hit by this disaster than any other nation. This can be attributed to the changing lifestyles characterized by fast foods, lack of parental responsibility, and lack of physical activity. In the state of Ohio, the problem of childhood obesity has been overwhelming thus calling for urgent measures. Despite that the community health problem of obesity and overweight has been prevalent among children; adolescents, and adults, children have been severely affected. Research has shown that there is high power and benefits in improving children’s nutrition. This includes improved academic performance, readiness to learn, and less absenteeism and less tardiness. In relation to health, proper nutrition for children averts chances of other related diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes which may occur as a result of being obese and overweight. In this paper, the community health problem of childhood obesity will be reviewed.
Childhood obesity is associated with a number of chronic diseases including stroke, coronary heart disease, cancer, blood pressure, and diabetes. In the case of adults, medical costs linked to obesity were in excess of 147 billion dollars. This is a clear manifestation of the seriousness of the issue. In addressing the issue of childhood obesity in Ohio, strict policy structures for approaching public health issues. There is necessity of ensuring healthy options are accessible, available, and affordable for all people (NICH, n.d).
Childhood obesity is a health condition characterized by excess body fat which has negative effects on overall wellbeing of the child. There is a no general agreement on the lowest definition of adolescent of childhood obesity as compared to adult obesity. Nevertheless, measurement of childhood obesity is based on body mass index (BMI) which is modified for age, gender, and pubertal stage for measuring obesity in children and adolescents. Childhood obesity is also defined as body weight with is about 20% higher than healthy weight range of the child or adolescent. Childhood obesity can also be viewed as body fat percentage which is above 25% for boys and 32% for girls. Despite that obesity was a little bit rare in the past; it has become worryingly high at present among children in United States as well as in the developing world (NICH, n.d).
Childhood obesity has profound effects on the patient. It increases the risk of diverse health problems and may create social and emotional problems. Obese children have a high likelihood of being obese as adults which increases lifelong risk as well as serious health problems. In cases were a child or teenager is overweight or obese, the chances of further weight increase can be prevented. Childhood obesity is disastrous due to the chain of health problems associated with it. Alongside the chronic health problems, childhood obesity may lead to depression and poor self-esteem thus impacting on social and emotional wellbeing. Childhood obesity can be well reduced by improving diet and physical exercise habits for the entire family. It is worth noting that preventing and treating childhood obesity is beneficial in protecting health of the child at present and in the future (Takako et al, 2012).
Childhood Obesity in Ohio
The case of childhood obesity in Ohio has been alarming. Despite the overall healthcare development in the state of Ohio, childhood obesity has been in the increase. An approximated number of 380,000 children out of 1,251,000 in Ohio of the ages 10-17 years are overweight and obese. This is a high percentage of around 30.4 of obese prevalence. These figures have been arrived at using BMI-for-age standards that making them acceptable. It has also been established that more than 43.0% of poor children in Ohio are obese or overweight. This is a clear indication that the problem of obesity is much inclined to the poor (Child Policy Research Center, 2007).
In regards to racial demographics, the prevalence of childhood obesity varies. In the case of black non-Hispanic children in Ohio, the prevalence is about 39.3% of obesity and overweight. This is lower than the national prevalence rate of 41.2 percent. Ohio is ranked 4th among 50 states in regards to prevalence of obesity among black non-Hispanic children. From another perspective, children in Ohio are less likely than their nationwide counterparts to be physically activity. This is a major factor leading to the high cases of obesity and overweight. The children in Ohio are less likely to participate in physical activity for 4 days a week and are more likely to spend at least 2 hours in television or computer screen. According to statistics of 2006, the pediatric nutrition surveillance system that evaluates weight status children shown that low income families have 27.2% prevalence of obesity among low-income of children with 2 to 5 years (NICH, n.d).
The overall prevalence of children with obesity and over weight in Ohio are scaring at 30.4%. This is however not far much high as compared to the national prevalence of 30.6%. The state is ranked 30 nationwide as far as childhood obesity is concerned. According to state and national statistics, there are 57% of children who engage in vigorous physical activity 4 times a week. This is much lower than the national figure of 59% of children engaging in regular physical activity. From another perspective, 48% of children of the age 6-17 years engage in at least 2 hours on screen. This is a high percentage compared to 44.9% national statistics of children engaging over 2 hours on TV, videos, and computer games (Child Policy Research Center, 2007).
Policy and Grant Initiatives Available in Ohio for Addressing Childhood Obesity
Different initiatives and programs have been started in Ohio which seeks to address the issue of childhood obesity. Ohio current gets grants from healthy communities fund, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s healthy kids for battling obesity and overweight in children. Action for healthy kids is a key resource aimed at addressing the issue of obesity in Ohio. This is a collation aimed at advocating for the treatment and prevention of childhood obesity. Action for healthy kids also advocates for spread of innovations for promoting healthy communities, particularly the children and adolescents (Ohio Department of Health, 2007).
There is a major disparity in national and state programs aimed at addressing childhood obesity in Ohio. Economic indicators however show that there is a great national and state concern for addressing the crisis. As at 2009, the estimated adult-attributable medical expenditures on obesity were at $75 billion nationwide and $3,304 million in Ohio. In this regard, a number of initiatives for addressing obesity and over weight across the nation have been set up. This is however not uniformly implemented in all states. For instance the snack and or soda tax has been implemented in Ohio and other 29 states. Menu labeling law is only implemented in 2 states in exclusion of Ohio. Complete the streets policy has been disregarded in Ohio and has found its adoption in 9 states. These disparities in relation to state obesity initiatives explain the differences in obesity prevalence in states (Reena et al, 2012).
There are a number of nationwide obesity-related school standards, most of which have not be adopted in Ohio. These include limited access to competitive foods, BMI or health information collected nutritional standards on snacks and school meals, and nutritional standards for competitive food products. These school standards have not been adopted in Ohio, thus explaining the rise in obesity among children. Ohio has however been efficient in adopting child care regulations on obesity. This is evident in the adoption of the regulations on snacks and meals which calls for children meals to meet set requirements. On the other hand, regulations requiring meals and snacks to be consistent with American dietary guidelines have not been adopted in Ohio. There are no efficient policies limiting or prohibiting foods of low nutritional value as well as lack of adequate policy on food vending machines. Ohio has also disregarded regulations requiring moderate and vigorous physical activity. This laxity in adopting nationwide regulations on child care explains the high prevalence of childhood obesity in the state (Ohio Department of Health, 2007).
Barriers in Solving Ohio Childhood Obesity
In light of the community health problem of childhood obesity in Ohio, various barriers hinder efficiency in solving the problem. To begin with, there is a deficiency of services needed in addressing the issue. A wide range of services like public awareness on childhood obesity and physical fitness facilities are needed. These services have not been sufficiently provided thus making it difficult to contain the crisis (Amanda, 2010).
The issue of access to medical services has also been dominant in the state of Ohio. This is mostly among the poor families which may lack access to information on best ways of managing childhood obesity. The various programs and initiatives on childhood obesity have limited capacity in addressing the needs of the wider population. This limitation creates the challenge of accessibility since the services can not meet the needs the wide population (Reena et al, 2012).
A serious communication challenge in addressing the issue of childhood obesity has been evident in Ohio. This is majorly between parents, schools and government agencies. The failure to implement national policies on childhood obesity is a sign of poor communication. Parents and schools have failed in implementing requirements on combating childhood obesity. A key challenge on regulation also exists in the state of Ohio in response to obesity management. Despite the different regulations and requirements for preventing obesity, there are been little follow to ensure each state follows them. This can be attributed to political failures in mobilizing for state legislation in order to prevent this health crisis (Han et al, 2013).
Inter-agency scope of care and delivery has also been a big barrier in addressing child obesity in Ohio. There is a serious coordination and implementation structure for standards and regulations on childhood obesity. The disparity between states in implementation of nationwide regulations is a key indication of the barriers hindering solution to childhood obesity. On the other hand, there is a serious financial/economic/budgetary issues. The current expenditure on healthcare is unbearable thus making it difficult for states to set additional funds to managing obesity. The dependency on grants and donors has been the nature of the day thus leading to a high deficit in financing management of obesity. The impacts of childhood obesity are adverse on the population based on the health costs arising from related diseases. On the contrary, the impacts of obesity on the population are not instant; this has created laxity on the community in addressing the issue of obesity. Many of the people do not term it as a serious threat since the effects is not immediate, thus creating a barrier in solving the problem (James and Susan, 2004).
Stakeholders to Health Issue of Childhood Obesity in Ohio
The health community problem of childhood obesity in Ohio entails a number of stakeholders. The government is the major stakeholder to the community problem of childhood obesity in Ohio. The state and federal government have great interest and responsibility in addressing the issue. This entails issues of policy making and regulations for treating and preventing childhood obesity as well as creating awareness on the issue of obesity. Parents and families are also key stakeholders to the issues of childhood obesity. It is of importance noting that family have great stake in this issue by ensuring good nutrition for their children as well as regular physical exercise. The children on the other hand are a stakeholder as they are the main target in of the policies or practices towards preventing and treating obesity. Teachers also serve as a key stakeholder regarding the issue of childhood obesity in Ohio. On the contrary, soft drink companies as well as fast foods businesses may have conflicting agendas. This is because the fight against childhood obesity requires reduction in the consumption of these products thus creating conflicting agendas (Reena et al, 2012).
Establishment of high standards and regulations on children meals and snacks to comply with dietary guidelines (Lourdes et al 2012).
Setting up school programs for moderate and vigorous physical activity (Lourdes et al 2012).
Starting of state wide campaigns to enlighten people on the issue of good nutrition and ways of preventing, treating and managing childhood obesity (Lourdes et al 2012).
Obesity is a serious community health problem in Ohio which deserves greater attention from all stakeholders. The consequences of childhood obesity are adverse on the economy as well as the nation’s health. The main concern of addressing childhood obesity is in regards to the worth of children in the society as well as their input in the future. It is a joint responsibility among parents, teachers, and the government to help children learn how to eat well and engage in physical activity so as to better their life. The different stakeholders to childhood obesity in Ohio should take responsibility and act in preventing, treating and managing the problem. The above recommendations should be adopted so as to address the problem.