Obesity

Obesity is a serious problem of our time. It causes serious diseases and serious damage to the health of people. During recent time obesity is mostly caused by the human factors, such as production of junk food, increase of sedentary jobs, usage of different kinds of transport and invention of numerous labour-saving mechanisms and devices. The nursing theory is aimed to identify obesity problem in the context of people’s habits, style of life, family surrounding and beliefs. Obesity is not a removed phenomenon, in many countries it became a serious threat to the health of the nation. According to the statistic data collected during the research performed in 2005 about 1.6 billion people on the planet are overweight and among these people 400 million are obese. These statistics are frightening but the predictions for 2015 are even more terrifying: according to the World Health Organization there will be 2.3 billion of overweight people and about 700 million of people will suffer from obesity. The United States of America is a country with one of the highest rates of overweight and obesity (cited in Mann, 2007).

The level of obesity is identified with the help of so called BMI (The body mass index). “BMI is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters (kg/m2)” (Caraher, 2005, p. 112). Increasing rates of obesity will definitely result in the increase of health problems rates. Such health problems as high blood pressure, gallbladder disease and gallstones, osteoarthritis and gout are also often caused by obesity.

It is a common knowledge that women are more likely to be obese but nowadays the rates of childhood obesity also grow. Cases of obesity are more common among women: approximately 75% of women are obese at the age of 20-60, while among men this index is less and makes only 50% (Caraher, 2005). The latest research shows than about 20 million children are suffering from overweight or obesity. Children’s obesity is alarming and frightening because, firstly, it is much more difficult to overcome and, secondly, its consequences are much more serious than adults’ obesity.  Cases of obesity among children increase every year.

This problem of obesity has become even more actual in the recent years. The complete or even partial solution of the problem is possible only after application of a multidimensional approach. This solution should involve not only active governmental actions but also close cooperation with food-producing companies, schools, universities, food providers, hospitals, mass media, families and world organizations, such as the FAO or WHO.

Two possible ways to resolve problem of obesity must include an attempt to decrease the amount of sugar consumed by the population and making physical exercises popular among the population. These two aims should be of paramount importance. The obesity in most cases is caused by the harmful habits, so only getting rid of these habits it will become possible to solve the obesity problem.

The latest research (McEwen, M., & Wills, E. M., 2007) on the impact of food on health uncovers terrifying facts. Fast food consumption has bad consequences for human health and provokes diseases, such as heart diseases, depression, headaches and many others. The increase of consumption of fat and sugar causes increase of obesity. This tendency is well illustrated on the example of young generation who consume great quantity of fast food.

Authorities of many countries have finally paid attention to these problems. There are several ideas about the possible ways to deal with this problem. Some propose to limit the use of saturated fats, such as some fats and margarine, in the production of fast food (Caraher, 2005). Others propose to raise taxes for the food which has high percentage of saturated fats. This will naturally lead to the growth of prices on fat food and there is a hope that it will reduce its consumption. This kind of strategy has already had good results in the case with alcohol and tobacco. Implementation of tax on these products resulted in the raise of the price for them and finally reduced their consumption among the population. Approximate statistics in regards to the impact of higher taxes on the consumption of fatty food forecast that these taxes will reduce the consumption of fatty food by teenagers and low-income families (Caraher, 2005).

There are some possible negative consequences of such policy. Despite this policy has a positive effect on the quantity of fatty food consumed by the population, most probably it will deprive people of their free choice. State tax policy should be combined with advertisement campaigns aiming to explain the harm to the health done by the consumption of fast food. Raising taxes for fast food and good informational campaign can bring good results and bring up new habits of healthy eating.

Advertising is a mighty weapon nowadays. Every day millions of people create and see advertisements. The most frequent advertisements deal with cigarettes, alcohol products and fatty food. Media often advertises fatty unhealthy food but at the same time a lot of messages propagate diets and the necessity to be thin. Researches show that girls worry about their weight and start dieting at early age. They see unrealistic pictures of thin women in advertisements created with the help of computer graphic techniques. Teenagers especially girls become frustrated and can even have nervous exhaustion.

Advertising unhealthy products, such as junk food and carbonated drinks, the government of the country puts under threat the health of the nation. Young adults and children are extremely influenced by advertising and in this way they get unhealthy habits which finally result in obesity.

Food habits make one of the main reasons of high obesity rates. Adult, as well as young population of the country, consumes cheap and non-organic food, which often becomes the reason of high obesity level. Non-organic food often contains different chemical elements and often in dangerous combinations. This means that non-organic food can become a reason of many allergic diseases and these facts show only minor part of the problem. Pesticides which are used for the growing of non-organic food may cause neurotoxicity, suppression of the immune system and carcinogenicity. In addition, they may often become the reason of the disruption of the endocrine system. The impact of pesticides on the human health has not been fully studied yet but it is evident that they cause serious health problem. Despite there are safety levels which are established in order to limit the use of the pesticides their content in the food products often exceeds any established norms. Very often the cases of extreme use of pesticides while growing non-organic food are not reported. Latest researches show that pesticides have negative impact on the male reproductive function. Pesticides contained in the food products can cause the decrease of the fertilizing ability of the sperm and thus cause lower fertilization rates.

Children are especially sensitive to the different dangerous elements contained in non-organic food. Their food habits formed in the childhood influence all their further life and make the basement for their health. Different food additives are contained in big quantity in non-organic food. Such food additives, as hydrogenated fats, aspartame, monosodium glutamate and phosphoric acid can have a very negative impact on human health and lead to obesity. These food additives contained in non-organic food in big quantity can become the reason of different heart diseases, headaches, osteoporosis and depressions.

Propaganda of healthy lifestyle is another means to treat the problem. The government should put much effort trying to popularize healthy lifestyle and physical exercise.  Since the problem of obesity gets the scope of the country, the Cabinet of Ministers should organize a special committee which would find the way out.

High obesity level causes a serious danger to the health of the nation, and ordinary people and government of the country should unite their efforts looking for the way to solve this problem. Ministries of different countries have already created a special group of people from different fields in order to join their effort and to fight obesity. “This work includes various activities to alert people of all ages. These awareness campaigns will also include going to schools, as the students are the future generation of our country,” states Dr. Nasser Al-Anezi, Assistant Undersecretary for Administrative Affairs at the Ministry of Health and Head of the National Program to Fight Obesity and Overweight. In addition to the means performed at the present moment such as propaganda of healthy lifestyle and healthy food, this working group plans to open several clinics which would help people to deal with the problem of obesity. As it was already mentioned before, complex approach can be the strategy in this case. This approach should be applied both – in the scope of the entire country and in the scope of each individual. Healthy habits should be combined with healthy diet and working on the psychological side of the problem. Only this complex approach can guarantee the best result in resolving the problem of obesity. Clinics which should be opened in the nearest future will deal with the problem of obesity on several levels. As states Al-Anezi, “These clinics will also provide awareness programs such as health nutrition facts and how to live a healthy lifestyle, which will be included in the curriculum and the media. The program will also encourage food producers to produce healthy food. In addition, the program also includes a strategy to limit unhealthy food especially in schools” (Fattahova, 2007, p. 69).

This method promises to be rather effective because it deals not only with adults but also with young generation which should makes the core of healthy nation. Reteaching adults is a difficult task, while working with children must be much easier. All healthy and unhealthy habits are formed in the childhood and despite it is hard to underestimate an important role of family upbringing, state policy can also be very useful in dealing with this complicated problem.  There are different factors which are usually associated with child obesity. Main reasons include “familial and environmental factors associated with childhood obesity; in addition to adverse effects of obesity on children’s serum lipids, lipoproteins, apolipoproteins, insulin, and blood pressure profiles” (Walker, 2005, p. 109). Child obesity becomes the reason of many health problems which in the early childhood. In addition, obesity is one of main causes of death. All these facts give enough reasons for serious concerns and additional attention to the problem of obesity.

The main point in nursing philosophy is the concentration on the patient. The nursing philosophical concepts in the question of the increasing rate of obesity are the following: focus on the patients with this problem; medical and psychological help; search for the ways to solve this problem. The main aim of the nursing theory is to spread the information about possible risks and dangers of obesity and present methods to deal with this problem (cited in Moyers, 2005).

Nursing theory can become a great help in dealing with such an important problem as obesity. “Few effective interventions identified for obesity e.g. in the evaluation and monitoring of outcomes and the process of implementing interventions” (Walker, & Avant, 2005, p. 112). While the first step presumes the acknowledgement of the roots of obesity, the next one should be aimed to solve it. The nursing theory suggests applying behavioral therapy on different levels: individual, family and social ones. It is necessary to apply different measures for different social groups (cited in Moyers, 2005).

There are several nursing researches that deal with the problem of obesity in the context of the modern society. The multi-centre and cross-country research proposes effective tools to stop increasing rates of obesity: “Identify/develop tools for data capture including, surveillance, effectiveness of interventions with children, cost effectiveness of interventions” (McEwen& Wills, 2007, p. 79). Systematic approach that analyzes the problem from different angels and takes into account all the possible causes of this problem is considered to be the most effective one.

The main goals of the nursing practice include identification of healthy food and application of weight-control, loss of weight, verbalization of positive perception among patients and future weight-control.

Leave a Reply