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Posted: June 28th, 2022
Health Policy Analysis Paper
Abstract Executive Summary
Obesity is the manifestation of excess fat in the body. As a lifestyle condition, it predisposes most people to other chronic health conditions, which results in immobility and even death. Obesity is additionally a long-term condition, in case it is not immediately handled. For children, researchers have identified a need for a holistic approach to identifying people at risk and tackling the likelihood of the spread of lifestyle diseases. Obesity in America had increased in triple folds in 2011 compared to its levels in 2011. It is one of the most alarming crises in the American public (American Heart Association, 2016). Through research and observations, many policymakers have become aware of an increased attraction to junk food that is outlined to be overall detrimental to people’s health. According to empirical research, one-third of children and adolescence in America are overweight or obese (Seguin et al, 2017, p2). Parents and caregivers are identified to play a major impact in preventing this risky and unhealthy behavior. Consistent exposure of children to unhealthy eating habits is the number one cause of obesity in the US. The creation of nutritional awareness is key in preventing the spread and manifestation of obesity. This can be achieved through education.
State the Problem
With the evolution and technological advancement, people became aware of the different types of foods around them. They also realized the benefits of eating healthy and its impacts in avoiding diseases and other disorders that may be harmful to our general health such as diabetes, obesity, cardiopathy, and hypertension among others. Junk foods like hamburgers are getting popular across the world, and it is regarded as a traditional American meal. It is advisable to treat junk foods as a once-in-a-while treat and not regular foods. While hamburgers have their nutritional values such as provision and maintenance of iron levels in the blood and vitamin B-12 that is vital for the blood, its disadvantages which include unwanted weight gain and its effects outweigh its benefits.
Most junk foods contain higher levels of calories. For example, researchers identified that normal hamburgers served in a fast-food restaurant contain 942 calories (Stein, 2017). With a lack of proper exercise to burn the calories, the eater is susceptible to weight gains and an increase in cholesterol levels in the blood and saturated fats (Stein, 2017). This results in obesity which predisposes the eater to diabetes. The burger contains high levels of sodium which can cause higher blood pressure within the body. This increases the risk of heart diseases (Anne, 2017). Being healthy can be termed as the absence of illness (Sartorius, 2006). Designation of the hamburger as junk food is because its limitation when consumed heavily outweighs its advantages. The meat on the burger contains iron that is essential for the blood cells. Also, it has vitamin B-12 that helps in rebuilding the red blood cells in the body (Anne, 2017). This is vital for pregnant women and breastfeeders. The food is also rich in proteins that aid body muscle development.
For a healthy life, healthy eating is vital. Junk foods result in lifestyle diseases that are harmful and could cause disastrous effects in someone’s life. Hamburgers are a great example of junk food as they contain high levels of calories, cholesterol, and saturated fats that require a lot of energy to burn. Since most people don’t do regular exercise, the accumulation of these elements within the body results in illnesses and disorders that pose a grave danger to the human body. That said they have their advantages and nutritious value. They are recommended to eat only once in a while as a treat but not treated as a regular meal. However, often people are hooked to eating burgers at the corner fast food because of the enticing tastes due to the ingredients that seem to add value to the taste, unlike average healthy foods that have less fattening effects. Furthermore, it is logical to argue that once in a while people will have the perfect excuse to say they do not have the time to eat other foods. Burgers can be consumed while driving or walking back to work hence saving time. Most Americas work double shifts to make ends meet and therefore having a meal that could save time is essentially the “best meal”.
Gaining weight during pregnancy could lead to cases of obesity in both mothers and risks passing the same symptoms to children. Over time of consuming such unhealthy diets, there is an overload of the energy-giving micronutrients to cells. Metabolic syndrome and more risky conditions can develop hence increasing the risk of other diseases. In the recent past obesity and fattening, related diseases like metabolic syndrome have been known to be the main cause of abnormal medical conditions and increase in death rates, besides just reducing the quality of life. Gaining weight can reduce the self-esteem of an individual and at the same time reduce the activities one can freely engage in. Medics who define metabolic syndrome usually have difficulty. Although people who are slim can also have similar symptoms the risk of the occurrence is higher in people who gain weight by consuming unhealthy foods such as hamburgers. The effects of gaining weight can only be reversed by consuming less healthy meals and replacing them with prescribed healthy foods. As observed from the burger-making process, the meatballs are rolled together with fats. It is logical to argue that the excess fat in the burgers is likely to increase the chances of weight gain because of the extra energy density. A comparison between the different available macronutrients reveals that fats have more density than other food substances. A relationship between the lipids in hamburgers and weight gain is critical if anyone is to avoid weight gain they need to understand how much is too much.
The biggest task in the fight against obesity lies in the caregivers within the society. This is because they are the first point of contact for most children. Caregivers are tasked with the need to ensure that the child receives the best diet and nutrition, and a good perspective on what a healthy lifestyle should look like. Research identifies that the best approaches to childhood-based obesity should prioritize strategies to improve socio-cultural facilities such as neighborhood walkability, increased access to leisure and exercise facilities, and more spaces for physical activities (Elbel et al, 2016, p2). Schools, homes, and all social facilities should prioritize these aspects
Fast foods contain a lot of sodium that increases the risks of stroke, heart conditions, and the possibility of kidney malfunctions. The science behind sodium causing all these circumstances suggests that a lot of sodium in the body increases blood pressure and because when macronutrients are digested the sodium will overwork the kidney. Somewhat, the kidney will have to absorb back more fluids to be retained in the body. In return, the heart has a burden to pump more fluids, therefore, creating blood pressure as each vital body organ strains to function. Another condition that may develop because of excess sodium includes kidney stones. People might be surprised why there is too much salt in hamburgers, and that is because over time salt has been used to not only flavor but preserve food. It is safe to assume that the amount of salt used to preserve the ingredients used in preparing hamburgers including cheese, bread, and meats is preserved using salt. Furthermore, unlike homemade healthy meals the amount to levels higher than the preferred levels. Reducing the levels of sodium in meals requires a commitment to stay off foods that contain high levels of sodium. Staying off foods that contain ingredients that are processed foods in restaurants such as the ones in hamburgers. While it would be impossible to stay out of restaurants at all people would need to order food that contains lower sodium such as vegetables with fruit toppings.
Child obesity has reached epidemic levels in the US presenting the health department with a unique problem on how to adequately address the public and even cater for the treatment of children. One critical aspect identified is the role that society plays in propagating child obesity. Parents in the US are discouraged from buying processed foods. The trend in buying processed food is identified to stem from ineffective family-work schedules where children become less likely to be given good food and are provided processed substitute foods. Klass (2018) a reporter in The New York Times states that for all children regardless of their health status good parental decisions on nutrition are central to their well-being. Parents are encouraged to avoid high-calorie foodstuffs, such as carbonated drinks and oil/ fatty foods. According to researchers, fast foods are typically high calorie, high in fat, high in saturated and trans-fat, high in a sugar high in sodium, and simple carbohydrates (Ananya, 2017). This is a factor that should be made aware through civic education for all.
Schools and the government in cooperation with health departments should take more responsibility in providing relevant education to the community relative to food, eating habits, and nutrition. The dangers of obesity should be made clear to children. There is also a need for schools to change their mode of preparation of foods served to children. According to health analysis reports most schools to have far lower food preparation standards. Chen (2019) identifies that schools in the US have far lower standards governing their food preparation compared to fast-food restaurants. This becomes a key problem, especially for parents who try to control their children eating habits at home, as they are reversed at school.
Preferred Alternative With Justification
Researchers posit that increased monitoring of the trend needs to be established and centrally managed. This is key to defining the problem accurately and reaching the bottom of the issue. Being largely a lifestyle disease, there is a need for a holistic approach to help tackle the problem. Sanyaolu et al (2019) identify that the problem with obesity is one that manifests and persists from childhood through adulthood. Their research further points out that there is a need for a combination of strategies that includes better diet information, exercise, physiological and psychological approaches in the control and prevention of childhood obesity. The primary method should aim at providing adequate education that encourages an appropriate diet. Sanyaolu et al (2019) secondary prevention strategies should also be implemented mainly targeting child obesity by preventing children from attaining bad eating habits and sustaining them over time as they can persist into adulthood. Cheung et al (2016) identify that obesity in early life is absolutely necessary to prevent further chronic diseases in adulthood. As such creating adequate strategies from a young age is key.
Obesity is primarily about control of mind and self and having a good support system that primarily works to help young children reinforce these tendencies. The ability to control the intake of food and the type of food is majorly nested in parents for children. Parents are their first point of contact and they adequately prevent too much intake of food, and more significantly unhealthy food. From a young age, obesity can spiral into adulthood where it may predispose people to more health risks. The good news is that it is reversible but requires adequate education and consistency
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