In 2007, the prevalence of obesity in many workplaces was estimated to be about 10 % as compared to the national statistics of about 7.5 % during the same year. More than half of the working people were diagnosed with obesity in the year 2004. Research suggests that the high rate of obesity in the work place is what has indeed lead to the escalated levels of the condition among the inhabitants of the New York City just as portrayed in most of the studies in the recent publications. New York alone is estimated to have more than three quarters the rate of obesity condition in the entire United States of America.
The community of employees lives a very sedentary lifestyle as compared to other group of people in the world. This is shown by the way they handle most of life physical activities. Thus, it makes them contract the obesity condition and in turn, develop the problem of diabetes due to little conversion of the sugar calories present in their body system. Most of the workers do not engage in physical activities and have poor eating habit that make them being at risk of contracting obesity. This condition looks more prevalent among the adults as opposed to the children. Cases of obesity with the children in New York is indeed on the decline following recent studies which clearly states that these are results of the effort placed by the city health department in conjunction with the City Mayor’s Office in the unrelenting battle against the vice which is threatening to wipe the whole of the American population. These conditions are related to other complex situations in the body of the individual affected. It may lead to high risks of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness, amputations and eventual death. Most of the individuals with this condition have no information about their condition at all (Schwartz and Brownell, 2007).
In order to overcome cases of obesity in the workplace there a number of strategies that have been employed with an aim of changing the current situation in the workplace. Studies have shown that most of the obesity related problems in the workplace have been as a result of poor food choices as result of personal food choices that are associated with economic and social circumstances as well as the food cultures. The issue of people not engaging in physical activities is another factor that has led to increased cases of obesity in the workplace. Therefore, the strategies that have been developed through legislations have been targeting a situation where people in the workplace have the right food within their reach and there is enough time for them to engage in physical activities (Pool, 2001).
The choices of food that one makes in the workplace can be manipulated negatively by food packaging, advertising and food content presentation. Studies have shown that food choices have been manipulated with an aim of achieving health outcomes that are positive. Physical activity levels, for instance, can be determined by a number of factors. For example, the means by which physical education is been offered to the employees. In order to bring change in the workplace, mainly in order to reduce the number of obesity cases in the working environment (Hodge, 2006). Law is a powerful tool that can be used to influence behaviour. Law intervention can help employees to make healthier choices of food and change their health habits. Law is the best strategy that can be used to control the levels of obesity in the workplace. Studies have shown that law can be used to reduce obesity, by means of controlling the environment in which various types of food are consumed. Law in the workplace that is triggered toward encouraging health living has the capacity to control mercantile food practices, regulation of economic and physical environments, supporting informed consent through providing information required for one to make an informed decision and finally, regulating media practices.
The strategy that should be employed in workplaces to reduce the number of obesity cases is by providing a working environment where employees are given an hour or two to engage in physical activities on a daily basis. The food provided by the employer to the employees should be well regulated to ensure that it has the right nutrient contents. These strategies can be well implemented if there is legislation that is put in place to regulate production, distribution and packaging of foods. The legislation should make it a requirement for the employees to provide the employees with time to engage in physical activities.
Consequences of the Policies/Strategies
Employing the strategies that I have mentioned above will have many consequences both at the development and implementation stage. First, the employers will be required to comply with the new legislation on provision of the right food to the employees as well as providing them with time to engage in physical activities. This will require the employers to restructure their work programs to cater for the new developments. On the other hand, resistance may be experienced from employers who may be opposed to the implementation of the new strategies of controlling obesity in the workplace, as they will be costly to implement.
The strategies of controlling obesity in the work place also have consequences at local and international level. The legislations to be passed will have a direct impact on production and distribution of food products in the workplaces. Food manufacturing companies will be required to comply with the law whereby they will have to provide information on food content so that the buyers can make informed choices. This means that the employees will be in a position to make informed choices of the type of food to consume. This will have far reaching implications internationally as the level of obesity will be reduced by a big margin. The reduction will come as result of food manufacturing companies producing healthy food that will go a long way in improving the health of the consumers. The strategies employed will also ensure that employees in various local companies engage in physical activities that will help them reduce body weight which could be a major cause of health complications.
Communicating with Policymakers
It is the high time that policymakers come up with policies that will directly affect the practice of nursing, control consumers and change the entire health care system. The policies should be aimed at encouraging the right eating practices among the consumers. Nurses should be empowered by the health policies on how to educate patients suffering from obesity on healthy eating habits. The policy makers need to come up with legislations that will ensure that people eat safe food and professionalism is maintained in the field of healthcare.
Historical, Ethical, Political Contexts of Health care Policies and Consequences of Policy Implementation
Historically many of the health care policies have not been focusing on the healthy eating habit but they have been more concerned with treatment of illnesses arising from poor eating habits such as obesity. This has led to poor eating habit among the members of the society due to lack of information relating to poor eating habits and their consequences. This situation has to be changed by coming up with healthcare policies that are ethical. The policies should ensure that ethics are maintained when it comes to manufacturing, distribution and packaging of food. This will help reduce cases of diseases that are related to poor eating habits in the workplace such as obesity. In order for the new policies aimed at reducing cases of obesity in the workplace to be effective there is need for good political will from all the parties involved both at the formulation and implementation stage of the new healthcare policies. The government should be willing to oversee full implementation of the new health care policies aimed at reducing cases of obesity in the workplace. Implementing the new healthcare policies in the workplace means that the employers will have to restructure their working programs to allow their employees time to engage in physical activities. They will also have to ensure that they provide employees with food in the workplace that meets the health standards (Besser & Dannenberg, 2005). This means that the employers will have no option but to comply with the new healthcare policies aimed at reducing obesity in the workplace.
There is need for institutional changes at local, national and international policies related to healthcare. The goal of reducing obesity cases in the work place cannot be achieved unless the right polices are developed at all levels if governance around the globe. The right healthcare policies on healthy eating habits will ensure that food manufactured and distributed has the right content of nutrients and information relating to the content of the food is readily available to the consumers to make informed choices on which type of food to consume. The policies will empower the nurses in their practice as they will be in a position to educate members of the society on the dangers of poor eating habits (Jackson, 2002). The problem of obesity in the workplace can be fully dealt with if the strategies mentioned in the paper are fully implemented at the local, national and international level.