Us Health Care Policy on Obesity and the APN Role
Obesity is an abnormal medical condition in which excess fats accumulate in human bodies causing them to have more weight than expected (Dubé, 2010). Obesity in our societies has been experienced since time immemorial. Its origins are traced back to our prehistoric ancestors. Artifacts dating back to the Stone Age period depict cases of obesity in children, youth, and adults. The tendencies of human bodies to store excess energy in the form of fats resulted from thousands of years of evolution in an environment characterized by limited uncertain food supplies. Based on this concept, those who could store energy in times of plenty had higher chances of surviving through periods of famine and thus pass through their childhood to adulthood with ease. However, in the past, the issues associated with obesity were very few and rare. Currently, the percentage has increased immensely with the availability of inexpensive, high-energy food, and reduced physical activities in our societies. Because of this, obesity in both children and the elderly has become a health concern. This paper seeks to access the current scope of obesity issues in the USA and recommends the appropriate measures to be adopted by the stakeholders.
Identification of stakeholders
Before the year 1980, a few people were considered obese in American societies. Currently, the number of obese individuals has continued to rise steadily. Presently, health care stakeholders recognize obesity as a stubborn problem that needs a comprehensive approach. To address the prevalence of obesity in the American population, the government, medical service providers, and the public must work together to find and implement appropriate measures to end the consequences of the diseases. Researchers assert that to achieve this, all stakeholders must look for ways that will ensure that the population increases their physical activities and reduce their intake of high-energy foods. In the recent past, clinicians have been called upon to aid in mitigating obesity. It is believed that clinicians’ effort in combating this situation will be effective since they can easily promote policy changes. In a hospital setting, doctors, nurses, clinical officers, health insurance service providers, government health organizations, and other health service providers can help roll out an effective plan of action to reduce instances of obesity in our societies.
General recommendations for reform
Medical experts have warned that if we fail to control obesity in our societies, health care costs would continue to accelerate. Medical experts have recommended several methods aimed at preventing this situation. In a hospital setup, the best method that can be used in the mitigation programs is allowing medical experts such as doctors and advanced practice nurses to participate in writing prescriptions for obesity prevention programs. In every society, medical practitioners have a great influence on the health choices of individuals. Instead of letting society rely on obesity information on bogus websites and from other unreliable sources, all healthcare stakeholders should provide society with accurate and reliable information on obesity. Apart from providing society with health information, these experts should also inspire society to make healthy decisions.
Every day, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare service providers attend to patients. Therefore, these practitioners should consider these chances of interaction as great opportunities for them to advise their patients on making healthy eating and activity behaviors. Based on the trust their patients have in these experts, their guidance will be of great importance. Equally, medical practitioners should act as role models to their patients. By acting as role models, they are expected to lead by example by portraying healthy eating habits and exercising regularly. As such, medical experts should not be among the individuals suffering from obesity-related diseases. Through these practices, health experts should not only limit their guidance, advice, knowledge, and standing to campaign against obesity in the hospitals. They should ensure that their information is relayed to all the members of our society. On the other hand, health care centers should enhance healthy changes by facilitating healthy environments for the patients, staff, and visitors. This implies that hospitals and clinics’ cafeterias should be free of junky foods and sugary drinks. Equally, within the health centers, unhealthful choices that have taken a grip in several hospitals should be abolished (Heinberg & Thompson, 2009).
Alternatively, health insurance service providers can play a huge role in influencing the behaviors of patients. As such, these institutions should cover the cost of treating and preventing obesity-related diseases, come up with appropriate prevention programs, and sponsor several prevention efforts and events aimed at fostering healthy behaviors in our society.
A plan of implementation using evidence-based practice
The above recommendations should be implemented in our hospitals with immediate effect. To implement the recommendations the hospital should assess readiness for major recommendations, ascertain the perspectives of the recommendations, develop implementation structure, gather internal data, and select tools to be used in the implementation processes (Winne, 2008). Before these recommendations are implemented, hospital executives should assess the readiness of their hospital to accept these major changes aimed at fostering a healthy culture. Thereafter, hospital executives should ascertain the perspectives of these recommendations. Through this, they would be able to comprehend how the hospital staff and patients will perceive their recommendations. By doing so, changes can be made to the recommendations. To create an implementation structure, hospital executives should appoint a person to lead the implementation process and appoint a team to oversee the planning approaches. By gathering external data, the hospital can learn the strengths and weaknesses of their recommendations from those who have implemented these recommendations before.
A method to evaluate policy change
Once the above recommendations have been implemented, policy change evaluation needs to be conducted to determine if the desired goals have been met (Lang, 2013). Implementation of these recommendations represents the expenditure of all stakeholders’ resources. Therefore, all the stakeholders have a right to expect the hospitals to be accountable for the effectiveness of these recommendations. To evaluate policy change based on the above discussions, hospitals should develop a framework that evaluates policy change based on its process, outcomes, impacts, and cost benefits. Through process evaluation, a hospital is required to analyze if health experts are administering the recommendations proposed appropriately. Implementation challenges can be identified and corrected through this evaluation process. Through outcome evaluations, all the stakeholders can ascertain whether the recommendations have led to a decrease in instances of obesity in our society. Impact evaluation would allow a hospital to analyze whether the recommendations have visualized their intended impact. Through this evaluation process, critics’ suggestions to the program can be evaluated against the outcomes of the program.
Dubé, L. (2010). Obesity prevention the role of brain and society on individual behavior. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic Press.
Heinberg, L. J., & Thompson, J. K. (2009). Obesity in youth: causes, consequences, and cures. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Lang, A. (2013). Healthier America 2013 strategies to move from sick care to health care in four years . Washington, DC: Trust for America’s Health.
Winne, M. (2008). Closing the food gap: resetting the table in the land of plenty. Boston: Beacon Press.