Health Educators as Problem Solvers/Policy Advocates
Taking on Childhood Obesity
In the United States many children are malnourished. We very rarely think of over-nutrition as malnutrition, but it is. Furthermore, our children are suffering because of it. No one would tell their child to go play in the street, because imminent harm and perhaps death would ensue. Yet we fail to recognize the threats posed by overweight and obesity. Not only is one’s quality of life greatly diminished, but morbidity and premature mortality from Type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease are the consequences. Obese persons are the subject of ridicule in television programming and the motion picture industry. This negative attention contributes to the stigma and resulting psychological pain endured by adults and children alike. Health educators must actively pursue resolution of the obesity crisis, not only through education, but through policy advocacy for PE standards, recess, school vending machine policies, nutrition education, and improved nutrition within our schools. Individual intervention has not proven effective, and it is time to address the environmental forces at work.