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Obesity Health Promotion Oz Assignment Help
The World Health organization behaviour defines health promotion as a set of actions/process whose aim is to equip people to have more control over their health. Baum (2016) adds that health promotion is more than just ensuring that people change their behaviours to a direction that enhances health and wellbeing. It includes focusing on a wide range of factors that influence health. These factors could be social, environmental, political, economic etc. Health promotion is very important in contemporary society. The reason for this is that there are so many factors affecting health and wellbeing that lie outside the health system (Gostin and Wiley 2016). In a society where there are so many factors that influence the health and wellbeing of individuals and populations, it is paramount to embrace a holistic approach towards promoting health (Phull, Wills and Dickinson, 2015). It follows that health promotion is multisectoral.
Health promotion is important in all parts of the globe. While the disease and morbidity patterns may be different for various regions, health promotion will always be relevant (Hemenway, 2017). One of the key areas that require health promotion is obesity. Obesity was once considered a condition of the high income (developed) countries. The situation is now different however. The condition has also become rampant in developing nations such as Kenya (Kimani-Murage et al. 2015). There are so many factors that contribute to the increase in the number of people with overweight and obesity. These include adoption of western diet, sedentary lifestyles, among other factors as will be seen in the subsequent sections of this assignment. Extensive research has shown that obesity is a risk factor for several chronic diseases of lifestyles such as cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and diabetes mellitus type 2. In Kenya, the chronic diseases of lifestyles are slowly but surely rising to be among the leading causes of death. Several years ago, the main worry for Kenya was infectious diseases such as malaria. Today, cancer and other chronic illnesses have become rampant and are raising an alarm already. Extensive research reveals that preventing overweight and obesity could significantly reduce the incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases of lifestyle. It follows that one of the key areas that requires health promotion in Kenya and many nations of the world is obesity. this assignment will focus on the need for health promotion in obesity, policy in the area and why it may not be working and potential innovations for future practice.
Obesity and the Need for Health Promotion
The World Health Organization defines obesity as condition in which there is excessive accumulation of fat in the body to the extent that it poses risk to health. The body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure that is used to measure overweight and obesity in a crude manner in populations. The BMI measure is a comparison of a person’s weight (in kilograms) to the square of their height (in metres). If the measure is 30 or more, the person is said to obese.
The distribution of obesity in many nations is uneven. This is in terms of regions, sex and other factors. In Kenya for instance, the prevalence of obesity is more among women than men. Research shows that twice as many women as men have obesity in Kenya. The geographical distribution of obesity is also uneven with more cases of obesity being observed in Nairobi and the central region of the country (Kimani, Sharif and Bashir 2016). Obesity is rising at alarming levels and there is dire need for intervention. The condition has risen to become one of the major public health concerns in many countries (Frumkin 2016). If nothing is done about this situation, mortality rates due to conditions associated with obesity may rise to unprecedented levels. To illustrate the importance of health promotion around obesity, it is important to discuss the risk factors, the implications and the determinants of obesity. Potential ways of improving the situation (health promotion will also be discussed).
Risk Factors for Obesity and How Health promotion Could Lead to a Reduction in Risk
It is important to appreciate that there are a wide range of factors that contribute to development of obesity. Even so there are two principal causes of obesity. These are physical inactivity and unhealthy eating habits (Charles 2015). These two and other important factors will be discussed in this section. Potential health promotion ways will also be discussed. Physical inactivity is one of the major contributors to obesity. When a person is not physically active, the body expends very little calories of the energy obtained from foods. The other calories are converted to fat and stored in the body. In men, this fat is mainly stored in the abdominal area while in women it is mainly stored in the hip region. The environment favours sedentary lifestyles. For instance, an individual may go to work by means of a car, spend the better part of the day seated in an office and the n go back home by car means. This individual is likely to expend very little calories which may contribute to weight gain and obesity. Since the government is the principal healthcare provider of the nation, it could carry out health promotion through its ministry of health to encourage people to be physically active. There are two categories of time-exercise recommended for individuals. One is vigorous activity for at least 30 minutes daily or moderate physical activity for at least one hour daily (Yanek et al. 2016). Extensive body of research reveals that if that were to be done, then the risk for being overweight/obese would greatly reduce (Naidoo and Wills 2016). The government could therefore promote physical activity vigorously to its citizens. This would potentially lead to an increase in the nation’s level of physical activity. The burden of obesity would then reduce saving the country of resources used in managing obesity and associated condition.
The second principal determinant of obesity is dietary habits. The western diet has been adopted in many countries of the world. This includes developing countries such as Kenya. The western diet is high in sugars and saturated fats. As opposed to the western diet, the traditional African foods were high in fibre (whole foods), rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats and sugars (Edelman, Mandle and Kudzma 2017). Consuming food that is high in saturated fats and sugars contributes to obesity. This is how this happens. Fats and saturated sugars are used to provide the body with energy once broken down. The excess fat is stored in the body as fat stores. Excess sugar is also stored mainly in the forms of glycogen and fat. Continued consumption of a diet that is high in fat and sugar will lead to excessive accumulation of fat in the body leading to overweight/obesity.
A healthy diet, on the other hand, is defined as that rich in nutrients (nutrient dense) and moderate/low in energy nutrients (DeBruyne, Pinna and Whitney 2015). These are mainly the traditional foods that are whole and unprocessed. They are high in fibre and nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. They also low in saturated fats and sugars. Consumption of such foods helps the boy acquire all the nutrients required for normal functioning while contributing very little fat or sugars (Hoffman et al 2017). The fats and sugars contain in such foods are almost always only enough to fuel the normal bodily functions. It follows that such a diet contributes no/little weight gain. Health promotion should therefore be geared towards encouraging individuals to adopt diets that are mainly composed of whole foods, fruits and vegetables. Public health campaigns should be increased to ensure the same. Once the communities become knowledgeable of the importance of healthy diets in promoting health, their attitudes will potentially be influenced. It has long been known that once the attitudes are influenced, practice is highly probable.
Another main cause of obesity is the use of hormonal contraception methods. This could probably explain the reason why the prevalence of obesity is higher among women in Kenya. Research has revealed that the hormonal contraception methods could lead to excessive accumulation of body fat in a short period of time. As Batras, Duff and Smith (2016) observes, this is probably because the hormonal balance is affected by the methods. The use of contraception, especially the hormonal methods is gaining momentum in the developing countries and is contributing to the burden of overweigh, obesity and associated conditions. Health promotion is therefore paramount when it comes to this issue. Women should be made aware of the possible side effects of the contraception methods before they can decide on the one best for them. Research should also be carried out to come up with more contraception methods that are non-hormonal. It seems as if the best move would be to encourage couples to consider using the non-hormonal methods of contraception as opposed to the hormonal ones.
Genetics have also been implicated in causing obesity. Some individuals have genes that code for accumulation of fat in the body and formation of fat cells (Agyemang et al. 2014). There are also other factors such as medical conditions that lead to accumulation of fat such as hyperthyroidism. These causes are very rare in any population.
Implications of Obesity
To appreciate the importance of health promotion for obesity it is important to analyse the implications it has on the health of individuals and populations. One of the implications is cardiovascular diseases. These include hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and congestive heart failure. As seen from the previous discussion, obesity is a condition in which there is excessive accumulation of fat in the body. In obesity cases, fat is deposited in the inner side (lumen) of arteries and other blood vessels (including the capillaries). This leads to constriction of the blood vessels. This means that the heart will have to exert more pressure to pump the blood to parts of the body (due to constriction of the blood vessels). This leads to high blood pressure (hypertension). Accumulation of fat in the blood vessels is usually the genesis of many cardiovascular diseases (Rolfes, Pinna and Whitney 2014). The cases of heart disease are on the rise. In countries such as the United States, heart disease is one of the major contributors to mortality. Although cardiovascular conditions were not common in the developing countries, they are becoming important contributors to the morbidity and mortality burden (Juma et al. 2018). It is therefore important to have health promotion measures for obesity.
The other implication of obesity is diabetes mellitus type 2. Diabetes mellitus is chronic disorder where and individual’s pancreas does not produce insulin, or produces inadequate insulin, or the body become insensitive to the insulin produced (Rosen, 2015). Insulin hormone is used in controlling blood sugars. It facilitates movement of glucose (sugar) from the blood to the cells for provision of energy. It also facilitates conversion of excess sugar to other forms such as glycogen. Once there is a problem, in sugar metabolism, the blood sugars become elevated to abnormal levels which may have negative consequences to the health of an individual (Whitney and Rolfes 2018). A growing body of research shows that there is a significant relationship between excessive body fat and insulin insensitivity observed in diabetes mellitus type 2 (Palmer and Apovian 2017). If not managed, there are negative health consequences such as development of hypertension, chronic kidney failure, peripheral neuropathy and diabetic retinopathy. It follows that management of obesity would go a long way in preventing business development of diabetes mellitus type 2 and the complications associated with it. In the last few years, the prevalence of the disease has increased significantly especially in urban areas and the central region of Kenya (Kyobutungi 2015. It is usually diagnosed late and leads to many of the complications mentioned above. One can therefore comfortably conclude that there is an urgent need for vigorous health promotion for obesity.
The other main implication of obesity is its association with some types of cancer. Cancer is defined as the a wide a range of diseases which involve abnormal cell division/multiplication, and which may spread from one region of the body to another. Research has shown that there is positive correlation between obesity and some types of cancers, for instance colorectal and breast cancers (Siegel, Miller and Jemal 2015). Cancer is also one of the conditions whose prevalence is greatly increasing in developing countries such as Kenya. Since obesity has been implicated as risk factor in some types of cancer, it is very important to have vigorous public health campaigns aimed at reducing obesity (Lehmann et al. 2018). It is very costly to manage cancer once it has set in and therefore the best intervention to reduce the cost in future is to encourage prevention strategies such as healthy eating and physical activity.
Policy Surrounding Obesity
Little policies have been developed on obesity. Taking an international view, what most countries have done is to inform the members of the public on the importance of healthy diets and maintaining healthy body weight without necessarily establishing policies on the same (Sallis, Owen and Fisher 2015). Policies have instead been developed in other areas such in management of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases of lifestyle. In Kenya, the government has been focusing on food and nutrition security since the problem of hunger is still great in the country. In fact, one of the four main agenda of the current government are food security. Among the four is also universal access to healthcare which is mainly based on accessing treatment but also prevention. While food security is important, it is also important to emphasize the importance of healthy diets. There is therefore need for establishment of policies on the same.
Potential Innovations for Future Practice
As seen from the discussion above, it is very important to put in mechanisms to ensure that the burden of obesity reduces in future. There are some innovations that could be employed in ensuring that that is achieved. One of these is ensuring that the environment in which people live encourage healthy diets and physical activity. For instance, the government could ensure that more exercise facilities such as public exercise fields are available. Such facilities could also include more affordable gyms constructed all over the country. If such moves are combines with increased education on the importance for physical activity, prevalence for obesity would greatly reduce. While one may argue that it may be a costly venture, it would save the country a lot in the long run. The government could also encourage healthy eating through such measures as increasing taxation to unhealthy foods such as soda to discourage their use.
Another intervention that would potentially reduce the burden o obesity and associated complications is teaching the importance of healthy diet and physical activity in schools especially the primary schools. An integration of such a course in the curriculum and making it compulsory would help pupils and students understand the implications of poor dietary habits and physical inactivity in causing obesity and associated conditions (Dadaczynski and Paulus 2015)
Health promotion refers to measures aimed at equipping people to have more control over their health. Obesity has become one of the health conditions of importance in the contemporary society. This is especially because of the implications that are associated with the condition. These include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus type 2 and some types of cancers. Obesity was once a condition associated with high income countries. Today however, it is increasing at an alarming rate in the developing countries as well. In addition to being very costly to manage, these conditions are rising to be significant contributors to morbidity and mortality. There been little/no policies developed to curb obesity. Potential future interventions include influencing the environment to favour healthy eating and physical activity (by the government) and inculcating a course on the importance of proper dietary intakes and physical activity in to school curriculums.
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