Obesity is a condition that affects more than one-quarter of adults and one out of five children according to the American Obesity Association (AOA). The effects of obesity are disease, death, disabilities and morbidity. This disease does not receive the attention that it deserves from the government and insurance companies. America spends billions on health care each year. Yet, obesity is on the rise. The diseases that obesity can contribute to are part of the leading death rates.
The objective of Healthy People 2010, concerning obesity, involves many issues and attributes. A few objectives are reducing overweight adults, healthy weight in children, food intake and nutrition, school nutrition, nutrition counseling and food security. All of these issues would help reduce chronic diseases and promote health with diet and exercise.
To reduce obesity a policy would be adopted by the government. Insurance companies would give a discount to people who would fit the criteria of obesity. If a person were within weight limits, a discount would be given to them through insurance rates. Prevention is the key and the goal of controlling obesity in adults and children. Also, providing activities for families, through city agencies, that would not be a financial burden to the people that are considered low-income.
This information needs to be measured in such a way that nationally, state and local entities can access such information. Strengthen state and community monitoring systems that will link nutrient and exercise (Healthy People 2010). Also, receiving commitments from the public and private entities that will be involved, including government, physicians and insurance companies.
Obstacles may get in the way of reducing obesity in the United States. Income status, none or little activity, race, gender or family genetics are all barriers that could increase the probability of staying obese. If Americans, as a whole, fight this up coming disease with full force and the backing of the government then the reduction of obesity will happen. Education of nutrition and what is enough for our children will decrease the amount of obesity as adults in the future. The goal is to have a healthier and stronger America.
There is a proposal for health insurance companies be liable for the education and implementation of programs that will help reduce obesity in America. Americans spend over 60 billion dollars a year on weight reduction plans or pills (AOA). Inadequate reimbursements from the insurance companies make it difficult for Americans to gain control of weight loss. Weight can be a target of discrimination in a person’s personal and professional life. Obesity can cause heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancers, arthritis and death. All of which can seriously jeopardize your health.
A policy must be in place to hold insurance companies responsible for providing programs for obese people. If medically diagnosed with obesity by two or more physicians then the insurance company will provide reimbursement for the reduction of weight. This will include a discounted price for a membership in a gym, which will be contracted with the specific insurance company. To pay for or equal the costs to the insurance companies, they can increase premiums for persons who are diagnosed by two or more doctors with the disease of obesity.
In addition, insurance companies and/or agencies will be taxed accordingly. The tax will be set aside locally to provide activities to the community and the surrounding areas. Physical activities will be set up for a practical amount of money, which will promote and educate people in the community on weight loss and reduction of obesity in America. This will include, but not limited to, the public schools and any private division.
Once the policy is clearly written and easily understood, the local government will appoint leadership to the appropriate entities. In this case, the Health and Human Services, American Obesity Association, the state health department and the public should be aware of the policy that is being proposed into legislation.
Costs will be an issue in implementing this policy. If insurance companies negotiate with local gyms, there will be a cost reduction. If the companies advertise together as a unit that provides insurance to promote a “healthy tomorrow” then the costs to the insurance company will be minimal. In addition, the premiums will be higher for the individuals who are medically obese. That will provide a balance to the insurance company for the costs of the reimbursements to the gym.
The taxation of the insurance companies will provide extra money to the surrounding community. The local government will set programs to target individuals who are overweight and want to lose it. Programs such as basketball, bicycling, soccer, baseball, aerobics, swimming, tennis and other activities that will promote a healthy America will be paid by the taxes.
There are different ways we can evaluate this policy once it has been through the legislation process. There needs to be a specific goal, which has been obtained. A measurement and analysis of information needs to be acquired. Then a recommendation to better the policy would be the conclusion. The political process does offer many channels which perceptions of a policy’s value feeds back into the policy making process. Committees will be set up to oversee and investigate agencies. Interest group intervention can also make or break a policy being introduced in legislation. If proper media exposure were to happen, then you would know the publics point of view and possibly know what will advance the bill or policy into law.
This policy process will take time and many efforts by the supporters and agencies involved. Having support from doctors, employers and perhaps the
government officials can be helpful when fighting for reimbursements for weight loss treatments. The goal and objective is to encourage individuals with obesity to obtain the best possible medical care for their disease. This policy will also help overcome the stigma that is attached to obesity. Finally, this will urge health insurance companies and the government agencies to be responsible for programs to treat obesity as they do with other diseases.
American Obesity Association: Preventing Weight Gain (2002). Retrieved on June 27, 2005 from http://www.obesity.org/subs/about.shtml
American Academy of Pediatrics: Prevention of Pediatrics Overweight and Obesity (2003) Retrieved on July 4, 2005 from http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;112/2/424
Defining Policy Formulation. The Public Policy Web (2001) Retrieved on July 4, 2005, from http://www.geocities.com/~profwork/pp/formulate/define.html
Hayes, Wayne. Good Implementation (2002) Retrieved on July 4, 2005 from http://www.geocities.com/~profwork/pp/implement/good.html
Healthy People 2010: Leading Health Indicators. (2001) Retrieved on June 27, 2005 from http://www.healthypeople.gov/document/html/uih/uih_4.htm#overandobese
Healthy People 2010: Nutrient and Overweight (2001) Retrieved on June 27, 2005 from http://www.healthypeople.gov/document/HTML/Volume2/19Nutrition.htm