Science and Policy Alignment
As a healthcare professional, effective communication is an essential skill for you to have. For this assignment, you will synthesize scientific research with relevant health policy, and write a professional editorial piece for public consumption.
Your role: Content contributor for The American Journal of Nursing
Audience: Healthcare professionals, nursing and administrative.
Format: 3-page paper, editorial style. Plus, a cover and reference page. A minimum of three scholarly sources should be included. In-text citations are required. APA style should be followed throughout.
Refer to the article Engaging policy in science writing: Patterns and strategies within Unit 3 Topic 2 for additional guidance on using the “push” style of writing.
-Choose any scientific research topic, with relevant and reliable scholarly sources available for you to review. If your background is clinical, your focus may be heavy on the science or clinical elements. If your background is more administrative, you may choose research which is more closely related to a social issue (such as emergency contraceptives, vaping use, etc.)
-Choose a policy or proposed policy that directly relates to your area of scientific research.
-Write an editorial article, approximately 3 pages in length, summarizing the scientific research on your chosen topic, and aligning it with relevant health policy. Explain the need for increased awareness around the topic:
-Who needs to do something about it,
-When action is needed,
-What that action could look like, and
-Why such action will positively influence the future of healthcare.
The American Journal of Nursing website: https://journals.lww.com/ajnonline/pages/default.aspx
Ruhl, J. B., Posner, S. M., & Ricketts, T. H. (2019). Engaging policy in science writing: Patterns and strategies. PLoS One, 14(8) http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0220497
Childhood obesity continues to be a significant public health challenge across the US despite numerous disjointed efforts across different states to address the issue. Childhood obesity has continued to put children and adolescents at significant risk for poor health. According to the CDC, among children and adolescents aged between 2 to 19 years, the prevalence of obesity was 19.3% by 2018, which represented nearly 14.4 million children and adolescents (CDC, 2021). According to the CDC, the prevalence of obesity was 13.4 percent among children between 2 to 5 years old while totaling 20.3% among children between 6 to 11 years (CDC, 2021). The CDC also indicated that the prevalence of obesity is higher among certain populations, with the highest obesity rates being witnessed among Hispanic children followed closely by non-Hispanic black children. The high prevalence of obesity is still common in Hispanic white children, while Hispanic Asian children have the lowest prevalence of obesity (CDC, 2021). Childhood obesity endangers the health of affected children in many ways, including higher chances for high cholesterol and high blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases as the children grow (Wall et al., 2019). Childhood obesity also increases the chances of breathing problems such as sleep apnea and asthma in children and also increases the chances of occurrence of musculoskeletal discomfort and joint issues. Childhood obesity is also related to psychological problems such as depression and anxiety and other social issues such as stigma and bullying. Children with obesity also report low self-reported quality of life and self-esteem (Kansra et al., 2021).
The proposed policy that can help address the public health challenge of childhood obesity in the US is implementing a federal mandate targeting schools to address childhood obesity.
The federal government needs to take action by adopting a standard federal mandate to target schools and address childhood obesity. The federal government needs to adopt a standardized policy for preventing obesity targeting schools because previous guidelines have been disjointed and varied significantly across states leading to significant disparities in the prevalence of childhood obesity across the US Currently, the federal government does not permit schools to teach health information that can directly help in preventing obesity. The current federal school policies target drug abuse, prevention of infectious diseases, prevention of HIV, STD prevention, and tobacco use prevention (Sanyaolu et al., 2019). The lack of a clear mandate from the Federal Government to teach obesity prevention in US schools, including promoting effective behaviors such as physical activity and dietary habits, contributes significantly to increasing childhood obesity in the country. Recent studies have also indicated that only 24% of children get recommended physical activity every day in the US (Kansra et al., 2021). Federal programs such as every Student Succeeds Act, which promotes physical activity in schools and requires the inclusion of physical education as an indicator of school quality, have been the main policies that promote exercising in schools (Kansra et al., 2021). However, different states have implemented physical education in their ways, leading to a massive discrepancy in the implementation of such programs. The federal government also allows different states to implement their own requirements on monitoring nutrition and food across various schools.
The action by the federal government that includes implementing a mandate targeting all schools across the US to address childhood obesity is required immediately. This is because, in the past two decades, the prevalence of obesity among children in the US has increased by more than 8%, highlighting the importance of immediate action (Kansra et al., 2021).
The implementation of a federal mandate to address childhood obesity across all schools in the US would include requiring all schools to implement a curriculum that would directly focus on preventing obesity. Such a curriculum would include teaching students to make healthy choices, read nutrition labels, and understand dietary information. Such a policy would require all schools across the US to allocate a specific amount of time for health education. A federal mandate would also include the federal government requiring all schools to adhere to a certain set g physical activity standards as opposed to guidelines. Currently, HHS recommends 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity among children daily, which is only a recommendation and not a requirement (Kansra et al., 2021). Such recommendations need to be made compulsory for all children. The federal mandate to reduce childhood obesity by targeting schools would also include requiring all states to come up with nutritional standards to promote different federal programs that have already been implemented, such as the healthy hunger-free kids act.
The implementation of a federal mandate to address childhood obesity across all schools in the US would have a positive influence on the future of healthcare because it would help to promote a healthy generation of young people and save future expenditure in healthcare. Both the federal and state governments save a lot of money and prevent losses in productivity associated with the adverse health outcomes that are associated with childhood obesity.
CDC. (2021, March 19). Childhood obesity is a complex health issue. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/causes.html#:%7E:text=Obesity%20during%20childhood%20can%20harm,are%20more%20likely%20to%20have%3A&text=High%20blood%20pressure%20and%20high,resistance%2C%20and%20type%202%20diabetes.
Kansra, A. R., Lakkunarajah, S., & Jay, M. S. (2021). Childhood and Adolescent Obesity: A Review. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2020.581461
Sanyaolu, A., Okorie, C., Qi, X., Locke, J., & Rehman, S. (2019). Childhood and Adolescent Obesity in the United States: A Public Health Concern. Global Pediatric Health, 6, 2333794X1989130. https://doi.org/10.1177/2333794×19891305
Wall, M. M., Mason, S. M., Liu, J., Olfson, M., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Blanco, C. (2019). Childhood psychosocial challenges and risk for obesity in US men and women. Translational Psychiatry, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-018-0341-1