Obesity Counteractions in Clark County, Washington

I feel the professional obligation to bring some concerns to your attention concerning the prevalent problem of obesity in Clark County of Vancouver, Washington. The county has had a history of obesity. The problem, which has been persistent over a period of time, has been occasioned by the lack of proper care from the parents. The parents are always busy to have proper care of their kids. The kids have, therefore, opted for poor eating habits. Clark County lacks in civic education to help and enhance the eating habits of its people. This has brought a wave of detrimental results in terms of healthy eating in the county.

Obesity is one of the major causes of death in the world. In this twenty-first century, it has an increasing prevalence in both adults and kids. Because the possibility of death is enhanced by the addition of weight, even slight weight in excess of ten to twenty pounds, especially in grown-ups aged thirty to sixty-four, is regarded to be important. Obesity leads to increased chances of developing heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, as well as other health problems. This makes it to be one of the most devastating public health problems of this century.

As with grown-ups, the number of young people who are getting obese has been on the increase in recent years. Among the youth, this condition usually leads to many health and social consequences that can be carried into adulthood. Obesity in adults is defined by a statistical measure referred to as body mass index (BMI). It measures the healthy body weight based on the height of an individual, categorizes a person to be underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese, and it is closely associated with both percentage body fat and total body fat of a person.

The percentage of grown-ups suffering from obesity in the County has been increasing during this decade. In 1996, one out of six (sixteen percent) grown-ups were obese, but by 2006, the prevalence of obesity increased to one out of four grown-ups (twenty-five percent) in Clark County (Clark County, 54). It is estimated that by the end of 2010, Washington State and Clark County will have above the national target for no more than fifteen percent obese grown-ups.

Overweight, a predecessor to obesity, has also increased in Clark County, with about thirty-eight percent of the adults overweight, while twenty-five percent of kids have abnormal weights or are susceptible to adding to more weight.

In children and adolescents (ages 6-19), weight is directly related to age and sex, and their being obese is defined in relation to a normal historical group. In this case, obesity is a BMI greater than the 95th percentile, and those between the 85th and 95th percentile are regarded to be susceptible to becoming overweight. The definition of obesity is not different for children and adolescents. All over the country, the number of kids who are overweight has dramatically increased from seven percent in 1980 to sixteen percent in 2002, and the number of overweight teenagers increased from five percent in 1980 to sixteen percent in 2002. Similar to the situation in Clark County, twenty-five percent of high school kids were reported to being overweight or susceptible both in 2004 and in 2006.

The causes of the historical problem of the preventable epidemic in the county range from poor diet to poor lifestyle choices. The percentage of overweight kids in the county has nearly doubled in this century; therefore, genetic factors are unlikely to be significant for the sudden rise in obesity levels. This is because even if obesity tends to run in families, the fact that it has been on the rise within the last few years in the county discount genetics as a prime cause. This implies that the changes in the environment play a leading role.

As pointed out earlier, parents in Clark County are too busy to check the dietary lifestyle of their kids. Therefore, the kids have resorted to consuming too many calories for their energy needs. This is the leading cause of the modern obesity epidemic in the county. In addition, fast-food chains are spread throughout the county, which makes many kids consume foods that are high in fat. Living a sedentary lifestyle is another significant factor related to increased cases of obesity in the county (Chaput, 3).

Currently, few people living in the county are physically active. This has been caused by a large change towards less physically demanding work, increased use of mechanized transportation, and taking up less active recreational pursuits. In kids, there seems to be a reduction in the levels of physical activity. This has been caused by less walking, less physical education, and spending too much time watching television. It has been observed that fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity decrease with the increasing grade level in the county, and older children tend to drink more sweetened beverages at school.

In order to manage the problem of obesity in the county, a number of initiatives should be taken into consideration. First, parents should make up more time for their children to ensure that they are eating healthy and are physically active (Kumanyika and Brownson, 349). Second, the county should adopt civic education programs aimed at improving the eating habits of its people. This may include an emphasis on calorie-controlled diets or low-fat diets and meals based on starchy or high-fiber carbohydrates. In addition, the people of the county should engage in various weight loss programs so as to promote lifestyle changes from the sedentary lifestyle.

These programs may involve behavioral changes related to diet modification and increasing the amount of physical exercise (Dehghan, Akhtar-Danesh, and Merchant, 78). Where necessary, appropriate drugs, such as orlistat and sibutramine, can be used for losing weight. And lastly, in extreme cases, weight-loss surgery can be done in order to reduce the number of calories that the body can absorb.

In conclusion, it is evident that obesity is a serious public health problem in Clark County. The prevalence of this medical condition has been increasing sharply among children and adults in the county because of the failure to observe healthy eating habits. That is why the above-proposed solutions should be adopted in the next three months so as to curb the spread of this epidemic. To this end, I am willing to cooperate with the county’s authorities and avail of any necessary resources towards the realization of this goal.

Annotated Bibliography

Chaput, Jean-Philippe, et al. “Physical Activity Plays an Important Role in Body Weight Regulation.” Journal of obesity 20.11 (2010): 1-11. Print.

The authors, researchers at the Department of Human Nutrition, University of Copenhagen, discuss the critical role that physical exercise plays in body weight regulation with the intention of motivating people to exercise and adopt healthy lifestyles. The authors illustrate the importance of physical exercise in fighting the modern sedentary type of lifestyle. The benefits include improvement of energy and micronutrient balance regulation in the body, enhanced appetite control, and lowering the risk of stress-induced weight gain. The authors’ emphasis on the importance of physical exercise as a means of having a healthier population will support my own view on the necessary initiatives that should be adopted to curb the rising cases of obesity in Clark County.

Clark County. “Community Assessment, Planning, and Evaluation: Quantitative Health Assessment Report.” Clark County Public Health. 2009. Web.

Various professionals at the Health Assessment and Evaluation Unit of Clark County Public Health compiled and edited the report. The report includes community health indicators that provide a snapshot of the health of the people within the Clark County. The data in the report highlights some significant problems that are facing the County such as increased prevalence of obesity, nutritional problems, and sedentary lifestyle. The findings in the report emphasize that obesity is a chronic medical condition that has really affected the lives of the people living in the county. Therefore, concerted efforts should be made to address the spread of this epidemic.

Dehghan, M., Akhtar-Danesh, Noori, and Merchant, Anwar T. “Childhood obesity, prevalence and prevention.” Nutrition Journal 7:2 (2006): 74-82. Print.

The authors, researchers at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada examine the increasing levels of childhood obesity in developed countries. They note that since overweight and obesity affect the physical and the psychological health of children, prevention is the key strategy for managing the present epidemic in developed and developing countries. Prevention strategies may include prevention of overweight or obesity, lifestyle changes to modify dietary habits and frequency of physical exercise, and averting more addition of weight in obese individuals.

Children ought to be considered as the priority population for prevention and treatment of this condition since it is difficult to manage the condition in adults, as it is difficult to control when it has become established in them than in the young people. The adoption of these prevention strategies is able to manage the condition.

Kumanyika, Kinika S., and Brownson, Ross C. Handbook of obesity prevention: a resource for health professional. New York: Springer, 2007. Print.

Written by internationally renowned experts on obesity and related disorders, the book assesses the intricate causes of obesity, and establishes concrete, multilevel strategies for meeting it head-on. Comprehensive in scope and painstakingly researched, the authors give an elaborate description of obesity in clinical, epidemiologic, and financial terms, and focus on new opportunities for its prevention, successful intervention, and initiatives.

Currently, with the advance in scientific knowledge, treating obesity is much easier. However, although there is going to be a considerable impact on the patient health, the persons suffering from this condition should be ready to address the problem and change their lifestyles. This innovative handbook is a bedrock sourcebook for accurate, up-to-date information on obesity prevention strategies.

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