Current Issues in Public Health
The public health issue of interest is inadequate nutrition and obesity. The number of people with nutritional health problems is on the rise due to a lack of adequate information on the effects of poor nutrition (De Lorenzo et al., 2020). In other cases, the grocery and food stores selling healthy and fresh food are scarce due to the demand for fast food. The young generation is embracing the fast-food stores’ approach that constitutes high fat and salt content. The foods increase the risk of obesity, which can trigger other healthcare complications (De Lorenzo et al., 2020). For example, obesity can lead to heart diseases or diabetes (De Lorenzo et al., 2020). The issue of poor nutrition and obesity has been evident during the pandemic due to the research findings that people with obesity and poor nutrition are at risk of severe symptoms.
Obesity and poor nutrition have emerged as a result of a change of culture in society. People want to walk into fast-food joints to buy food without necessarily cooking at home (Kulbaga & Spencer, 2017). Studies indicate that more people tend to eat more meals in restaurants than at home. Another trigger is the lack of consciousness that fast-food meals will trigger health complications (Kulbaga & Spencer, 2017). People perceive healthy foods and expensive and boring and forget the high medical bills they can pay if they are admitted to the hospital (Kulbaga & Spencer, 2017). For instance, the changing trends among the millennial generation to take products from processed sugar are gaining momentum in the country.
The current efforts made to address the issue are to educate the public about the effects of poor nutrition and obesity. For example, during the Obama administration, the government launched a program called Lets Move, intending to address obesity (Kulbaga & Spencer, 2017). The objective was to educate the public, encourage them to exercise, and avoid unhealthy meals. The program was effective but due to lack of continuity, it had a dismal outcome (Kulbaga & Spencer, 2017). Successive governments or state departments have not made elaborate efforts to curb the health issue. Healthcare workers have made attempts to fight against poor nutrition and obesity by educating the patients (Kulbaga & Spencer, 2017). Poor perception of healthy meals contributes to the challenges in successfully addressing the health challenge.
The government has developed policies to counter the issue such as subsidizing healthy foods for the needy in the society and banning junk food markets in schools. Another policy is encouraging restaurants to provide nutritional information for all meals (Shreve & Scott, 2017). Lack of government commitment to the health issue and poor perception contribute to poor results. Another challenge is the stigma associated with obesity (Shreve & Scott, 2017). Stigma reduces the effectiveness of the measures by government, schools, hospitals, and non-governmental organizations to fight against obesity.
Nurses can promote the fight against poor nutrition and obesity by educating the patients about the risk factors, symptoms, and the need for regular exercise. Nurses should educate the patients about related health complications such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and mental health (Mazidi & Speakman, 2017). The efforts should involve treatment plans and follow-ups to ensure patients are adhering to healthy meal plans (Quelly, 2017). Another effort is to advocate for patients with obesity and malnutrition. Studies show that inequality in the healthcare sector contributes to the lack of essential services among the poor (Quelly, 2017). Inequality contributes to poor health outcomes, especially among uninsured people.
De Lorenzo, A., Romano, L., Di Renzo, L., Di Lorenzo, N., Cenname, G., & Gualtieri, P. (2020). Obesity: a preventable, treatable, but relapsing disease. Nutrition, 71, 110615.
Kulbaga, T. A., & Spencer, L. G. (2017). Fitness and the feminist First Lady: Gender, race, and body in Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. Women & Language, 40(1), 36-50.
Mazidi, M., & Speakman, J. R. (2017). Higher densities of fast-food and full-service restaurants are not associated with obesity prevalence. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 106(2), 603-613.
Quelly, S. B. (2017). Characteristics associated with school nurse childhood obesity prevention practices. Pediatric nursing, 43(4), 193.
Shreve, M., & Scott, A. (2017). Adequately Addressing Pediatric Obesity: Challenges Faced by Primary Care Providers. Southern Medical Journal, 110(7), 486-490.