Childhood Obesity Advocacy Campaign
Childhood Obesity Advocacy Campaign
Although the problem of childhood obesity in America is generally recognized, the existing legislative efforts in this field are highly unsystematic. Thus, the government does not utilize its whole regulatory potential in relation to directing the required resources and creating the proper incentive among the population. The present paper provides a systematic childhood obesity advocacy campaign that addresses the existing problems and tries to influence legislators to support the policy. Through the effective combination of policy analysis and lobbying measures, the maximum outcomes can be achieved.
The proposed policy includes several critical elements that may effectively prevent the spreading of childhood obesity and reduce its level to the minimum degree. First, the government should explicitly declare that all children have the right to lead healthy lives and be free from the excessive obesity pressure (Nishtar, Gluckman, ; Armstrong, 2016). Second, the government should prevent the intake of unhealthy food by children. In particular, the main attention should be paid to sugar-sweetened products as they seriously contribute to obesity issues. The policy proposal will include the detailed list of products classified as being unhealthy with the detailed explanations based on academic research. In addition, the maximum concentrations of sugar-sweetened elements will be specified. Third, comprehensive programs promoting physical activities among children should be developed. They should not be obligatory, but their high variety should encourage the maximum number of children to participate in them. All expenses should be covered by the government in order to create equal conditions for all families regardless of their financial state.
Fourth, additional consultancy services should be provided to assist children and their parents in selecting the optimal diet that corresponds to the concrete health conditions of every child. It is possible to establish that every school will have such consultants to provide the timely assistance to any person in need (Powell et al., 2017). It will also contribute to the more responsible school environments. Finally, the close monitoring of the problem should be organized at the local, state, and federal levels with the possibility of making timely adjustments in case any negative tendencies emerge.
The proposed policy will be enacted through the new regulations because the existing laws do not provide the systematic account of the problem. As they address only some aspects of childhood obesity, the target children do not receive the proper care and protection of their rights. Therefore, the modification of the existing regulations will be ineffective in this case. In contrast, the new regulation may contribute to the emergence of the new system of dealing with obesity problem at the national level. The existing laws and regulations are important in a sense that the new policy should be properly integrated into the current legislative system. In particular, child nutrition programs are currently regulated by the following laws: Children’s Health Act of 2000, Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, and Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (ProQuest, 2017). In fact, these acts address important aspects related to children’s nutrition and protecting the rights of vulnerable groups. However, they do not provide the effective solution to the problem of obesity. Therefore, the new policy could serve as a complementary tool for properly enforcing more responsible lifestyle among children and their parents.
There are several methods that may be used for promoting the policy among legislators and decision-makers. First, the relevant statistics regarding the obesity spreading among children should be provided. Second, the major health consequences associated with the problem should be outlined. Third, the economic analysis of the problem should be provided in order to estimate the current costs associated with children’s healthcare as well as the potential negative impact on the future US workforce (Powell et al., 2017). Fourth, the potential positive consequences of the policy’s implementation should be provided through the corresponding estimates and professional opinions.
Overall, all “three legs” of advocacy should be used for promoting the desired policy decisions. The first element is lobbying, and it is necessary to find legislators who are especially interested in addressing the existing childhood obesity problem. As this issue is highly relevant for a large number of citizens, many legislators are concerned with finding the effective solution to it and strengthening their political reputation. Thus, it may be possible to find the interested politicians and decision-makers. The above information and statistics should be provided to them in order to encourage them to reconsider their current perspective on the problem (Vallgårda, 2018). It may be expected that the higher lobbying efforts at the firs stages of the policy’s implementation will lead to significant positive outcomes at the later stages.
The second element is media, and they are highly influential in shaping both the public opinion and legislators’ decisions. It is reasonable to rely on both traditional media (such as TV and radio) and modern ones (such as the Internet, social media, various messengers, etc.). Traditional media are effective in reaching the elder people and the majority of the population. At the same time, it is comparatively expensive and required additional financial support from contributors. Modern media are highly effective in communicating the information to the younger generation and encouraging them to be more consistent in supporting their views and positions.
The third element is grassroots, and it is critically to affect the public opinion on the issue. It is possible to combine social media with various seminars and meetings to reach the maximum audience. People should comprehend that urgent response measures are required. Moreover, the well-organized and properly balanced strategy can allow reversing the negative trend and establish the adequate environment for all children in the country (Vallgårda, 2018). As social media enable achieving the immediate feedback from the target audience, it is possible to make the timely adjustments in policy formulations and some tactical aspects. However, the core ideas will remain intact.
Although the above policy plan seems to be realistic, there are several obstacles that may exist. First of all, many legislators and decision-makers may appear to be much more conservative than it is expected. They may be unwilling to implement a radically new policy and transform the existing legislative system even despite the serious problems with childhood obesity being generally recognized. In order to address such an obstacle, it is necessary to contact the maximum number of legislators advocated different views (Powell et al., 2017). In this way, the required political group loyal to the initiative may be ensured. Another barrier refers to the need in financing for realizing media campaigns. Therefore, it is reasonable to find contributors willing to financially support the policy. It is possible to contact both specialized institutions and private contributors. In case the amount of collected funds appears to be insufficient, it is possible to reorient to social medias it requires only minor investments. The final obstacle is organizational issues as it is critical to ensure the well-balanced efforts of all professionals involved. However, the systematic control over the process should allow addressing such difficulties as well.
In conclusion, the designed policy appears to be highly important in the modern social and healthcare environment. Childhood obesity threatens the normal development of the modern society, and the existing legislation efforts are inconsistent. The new approach should provide the required resources and initiatives for reversing the trend. The integration of the above methods should allow reaching the maximum outcomes within the minimal time frame. Ultimately, it will be beneficial for the entire society, and effective lobbying can facilitate this process.
Nishtar, S., Gluckman, P., ; Armstrong, T. (2016). Ending childhood obesity: A time for action. Lancet, 387(10021), 825-827.
Powell, K. E., Kibbe, D. L., Ferencik, R., Soderquist, C., Phillips, M. A., Vall, E. A., ; Minyard, K. J. (2017). Systems thinking and simulation modeling to inform childhood obesity policy and practice. Public Health Reports, 132(2_suppl), 33S-38S.
ProQuest. (2017). Childhood obesity – A selected bibliography. Retrieved from https://proquest.libguides.com/childhood_obesity/leghistVallgårda, S. (2018). Childhood obesity policies – mighty concerns, meek reactions: Childhood obesity policies. Obesity Reviews, 19(3), 295-301.