In the contemporary world, obesity has become one of the detrimental global issues that are leading to the death of many individual regardless of their gender, age, or racial difference. Obesity occurs when a person exceeds the recommended body max index and is related to the prevalence of other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Therefore, obesity is categorized as a life-threatening issue in the public health, and hence require more attention and focus since the disease is escalating at an alarming rate. Various studies indicate that obesity affects even the children at the age of 2 years. For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevalence (CDC) (2015), although the prevalence of obesity in preschool-aged children has recently decreased, the prevalence among children remains high. The statistics illustrate that about 17 percent or approximately 12.7 percent of children aged between 2 and 19 years in the United States are obese. However, the prevalence of the disease for children between the age of 2 and five years has significantly decreased from 13.9 percent to 8.4 percent between 2003 and 2012 (CDC, 2015). Therefore, this paper suggests that the prevailing situation of obesity need to be addressed from not only health perspective but also communication approach.
Significant of the topic
It is significant to conduct research on the topic to offer a broad and deep analysis of the issues related to obesity to help the policymakers develop effective measures to mitigate the situation. The research will attempt to answer the various question that would help to reduce the impact or the prevalence of obesity not only in American society but also across the world. For instance, the paper will argue to support that obesity is a communication issue, but not just a health issue and how the analysis of the topic can lead to the specific practical situation. Therefore, it is important to shed light into the deeper analysis of the prevalence of obesity to offer specific recommendations that improve the existing prevention measures, and pharmacological and surgical treatments.
Various studies are incorporated into the study to show the main causes of obesity in the United States. The main course of this condition includes genetic factors, inadequate energy balance in the body, lack of physical activities and family factors. According to Anderson et al. (2006), the endocrinological syndrome including Prader-Willi, Lawrence Mood Biedl, Klinefelter's, and Froehlich's syndromes account for five percent of obesity cases. Various studies also indicate that parent plays a significant role in reducing the risk factors of obesity among the children or young adults. For instance, since the prevalence of obesity can be increased through physical inactivates such as watching TV, a parent can intervene to control their children on TV watching.
Why is Obesity a communication issue, not just a health issue?
In mitigating the prevalence of obesity, it is important to move beyond the commonly held perception that the problem is related to public health and hence requires health-related measures. Various studies have indicated that communication strategies are among the most effective measures of reducing obesity (Puhl, 2015). For instance, it is the duty of the government to ensure that people have access to affordable and healthier foods. The government should communicate ways, through various polices in which they can reduce the promotion and supply of unhealthy food in the market. In addition, there is a need for action to enhance not only treatment delivery but also education and medical training. For instance, the annual campaign against obesity has increased awareness of requirement from wide-ranging, evidence-based treatment and empathetic care for the individual affected by obesity. As a result, the campaign has helped to enhance patients and providers' understanding of evidence-based treatment options and strategies to enhance compassion and communication in obesity care (Puhl, 2015). For instance, Puhl reveals that the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity developed a continuing online medical education course to eliminate healthcare professionals regarding weight bias in health settings.
Moorhead et al. (2013) also indicate the need for communication strategies in mitigating the prevalence of obesity. For instance, the study indicated that the health professionals provides various benefits of communication of obesity. The communication between the health professionals and people affected by obesity enhance interaction that builds trust, increase knowledge regarding obesity, and increase awareness about obesity. In this case, various communication methods can be utilized to help the health professionals and other individual communication obesity to the patient. According to Moorhead et al. (2013), the most frequent strategies include verbally to individuals (applied 94 percent), leaflets (82 percent), and fact sheets (76 percent). However, the most prevailing communication barriers include inadequate time to consult the patient, restricted access to the required information and unsure where to obtain the required resources. Therefore, all the stakeholders need to address the prevailing communication challenges to ensure that community-based and primary care health professional have the required resources to communicate clear consistent and accessible message regarding obesity (Moorhead et al., 2013). This shows that the problem of obesity is not only the health concern but also the communication issue.
How an understanding of interpersonal health communication theory and research informs obesity in important ways
Understanding the interpersonal health communication theory and research help to reduce the prevalence of obesity in different ways. The interpersonal communication (IPC) is significant because it helps to produce better health outcomes. For instance, IPC provides a clear pathway to link processes in which health care providers can communicate produce proximate outcomes including patient recall and satisfaction, and outcomes including compliance with treatment procedures and enhance health results. The understanding of this theory and research also help to determine the factors, such as socio-demographic, that affects the communication context. Socio-demographic traits involve age, ethnicity, sex, and the education background. Other factors that affect communication include time allocated for encounters, the degree of privacy, cleanliness and comfort of the clinic, and the client's treatment.
Understanding the interpersonal health communication theory provides a significant impact on the healthy lifestyle behaviors among individuals. For instance, interaction-centered theories offer a thorough description of the trend and emerging events in the healthcare communication. According to Bylund et al. (2012), the individually centered theories focus on the communication behavior and help the researcher promote provider-patient communication. It helps the researcher to determine why some patients dynamically search for health information while others do not. As a result, this can help the aid providers tailor their communication to match the patients' needs and preferences. In the context of obesity, such theories can help the researcher to determine the patients' lifestyle behaviors and provides measures to engage the patient in active search for health information to reduce or avoid obesity.
Through interpersonal health communication theory and research, the researchers have developed public health campaigns that are aimed at improving eating and nutrition behaviors. The weight-related health practices include promoting vegetable and fruit intake, reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage, and promote physical activities. The theory and research have created a channel for health providers to disseminate health information direct to the patients through effective interaction. For instance, health providers are now concerned about societal prejudice and stigmatization against the overweight and obese people. Additional to the interpersonal relationships, other strategies such as education, media, and employment are employed to mitigate the problem of weight stigma in public (Neff, 2014).
How the analysis paves the way for specific practical solutions
The analysis indicates that in mitigating the prevalence of obesity, it is important to move beyond the common held perception that the problem is related to public health and hence requires health-related measures. It is evident that communication strategies are among the most effective measures for reducing obesity. For instance, according to Moorhead et al. (2013), the health provider-patient communication strategies enhance interaction that build trust, increase knowledge regarding obesity, and increase awareness about obesity. Therefore, as a way of helping the population reduce and avoid the prevalence of obesity, community-based and primary care health professional should engage in communication strategies.
However, the research has outlined that the communication approach is faced with various challenges such as inadequate time to consult the patient, restricted access to the required information, and unsure where to obtain the required resources. Therefore, practical solution for mitigating the prevalence of obesity would be minimizing these challenges to make the communication approach effective. For instance, the health professionals require to be supplied with information on "how" and "what" to communicate with people affected by obesity. They also need to be provided and supported with precise, clear and reliable messages and guided on the delivery of advice in acceptable and sensitive approach (Moorhead et al., 2013). The study has revealed that governments should formulate policies that restrict the promotion and supply of unhealthy foods.
Anderson, Patricia M., and Kristin F. Butcher. "Childhood obesity: trends and potential causes." The Future of children 16.1 (2006): 19-45
Bylund, C. L., Peterson, E. B., & Cameron, K. A. (2012). A practitioner's guide to interpersonal communication theory: An overview and exploration of selected theories. Patient Education and Counseling, 87(3), 261-267. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2011.10.006
Centers for Disease Control and Prevalence (CDC). (2015, July 19). Childhood Obesity Facts | Child | Data | Obesity | DNPAO | CDC. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html
In Neff, R. (2014). Introduction to the US food system: Public health, environment, and equity. John Wiley & Sons.
Moorhead, S. A., Coates, V. E., Gallagher, A. M., Nolan, G., Murphy, K., & Hazlett, D. E. (2013). Obesity communication among patients by health professionals: Findings from the Weight Care Project. Health, 2013.
Puhl, R. M. (2015, November 3). Obesity: Treatment Options and Communication Strategies. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/853405#vp_1