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Modifying Behavior: Punishment or Discipline

Human diseases continue to be the heaviest burden in human lives as economy continues to increasingly deteriorate. Several interventions to curb the problem of diseases have been attempted but the reoccurrence of such diseases and poverty makes the problem more challenging. Public awareness has been used as a tool for educating people on diseases and this measure has proved even powerful than treatment options. It therefore comes out clear that prevention is far much better than cure.

For instance, educating people on the dangers of eating lifestyles and general living will prevent them from developing various complications such as obesity and cancers. Obesity and Populations at Most Risk Obesity and overweight can be defined as excessive or abnormal accumulation of fats which later present enormous health risks. All persons with Body Mass Indices of over 25 are considered to be overweight (World Health Organization, 2010).

This mark of BMI of 25 provides a benchmark for the self-assessment although there are chances that the risks of obesity-associated chronic illness being to manifest at BMI of 21 (World Health Organization). According to World Health Organization (WHO), obesity and overweight are the cause for a number of different chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. Obesity was once considered to be a problem of individuals in the developed countries although this trend has completely changed and individuals in middle and low-income countries are increasingly being reported to have problems of overweight and obesity.

However, individuals who become overweight tend to live in urban areas in middle and low-income countries. Overweight individuals are at high risk of obesity. Therefore, interventions to tackle the problem of overweight can help solve obesity. The WHO identifies that in 2005, there were about 1. 6 billion overweight adults above the age of 15. Of the 1. 6 billion overweight, 400 million of them were obese. The WHO also predicts that there will be about 2. 3 billion overweight adults and 700 million obese adults by the year 2015 (World Health Organization).

The WHO statistics also indicate that at least 20 million children worldwide under the age of 5 were overweight in 2005. These statistics show that obesity and overweight is a problem that continues to escalate and solutions to mitigate this trend should be sought as quickly as possible. Causes of Obesity and the Affected Body Systems Overweight and obesity is a problem fundamentally caused by energy imbalances between consumed calories and the expended calories. Globally, the rising problem of obesity can be attributed by a global shift in food diets towards persistent intake of foods with high calories which have high sugars and fats.

These foods often lack minerals, vitamin and micronutrients (World Health Organization, 2010). The second reason for the increasing global trend of obesity according to the WHO is the decreased trend of active physical activity where people have preferred sedentary lifestyles. Most jobs (white collar jobs) encourage sedentary lifestyles and therefore, increased urbanization and the changing transport modes have entirely affected people’s health. Obesity impacts a number of systems in the bodies of individuals afflicted by the condition.

Overweight and obesity contribute to problems such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and type II diabetes. This implies that obesity does not affect a single body system but causes cascade body systems to malfunction. The cardiac system, the blood system and the liver are immensely affected by obesity Risk Factors of Obesity and Control Measures There are three main controllable risk factors of developing obesity. The choice of foods eaten is one of such risks. Eating high-calorie foods which lack vitamins and minerals makes an individual to have high risks of developing the condition (World Health Organization, 2010).

The second risk factor is having poor or minimal physical activity. Individuals who spend most of the time sitting have high chances of developing obesity. Sedentary lifestyles encourage the problem of obesity (World Health Organization, 2010). Control measures for these risk factors involve the provision of education and increased awareness and encourage healthy eating and active lifestyle. Instead of individuals watching TV or playing video games, they should be encouraged to involve themselves in active activities such as athletics, football or other games.

In order to reduce the problem of obesity, individuals should be encouraged to take foods rich in vitamins and minerals and avoid taking high-calorie foods (World Health Organization, 2010). Unfortunately, there are other risk factors that cannot be controlled. An example of these risk factors includes the genetic makeup of an individual. The fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene has been identified to be a risk factor for development of obesity (Henderson, 2007). While this is an uncontrollable factor, the deciphering of the genetic cause for obesity forms an insight into better understanding why other people are more obese than others.

The FTO gene is of two variants or alleles. During meiosis, individuals inherit a copy of the gene from each of the parents. The inheritance of two copies of the variant gene from the parents leads to a high propensity for developing obesity. If an individual inherits two copies of another allele, the propensity of developing obesity is reduced (Henderson, 2007). Diets have been used throughout the Western world to control one’s weight since the 1700s. Treatment options of Obesity since History Obesity is one of the problems of human health having interesting history in treatment options.

The treatment of obesity varies from one country to another with some medical practitioners recommending exercise and diet as the sure options for tackling the problem of obesity (Korner & Aronne, 2003). In other states such as the United States, bariatric surgery is to some level recommended for particular type of patients. Cutting-edge technology and novel drugs have been developed which increase fat metabolism in the body (Korner & Aronne, 2003). In general, the treatment options have ever been changing over history and are expected to be dynamic in the future.

Diet became the option of choice in the Western world in the entire 17th century. The anti-obesity medications only started to be used in the 18th century where physicians prescribed purgative medications that elicited laxative effect. However, Fen-Phen, an anti-obesity agent was withdrawn from the market since it caused brain and heart damage. Today’s medications such as Meridia and Orlistat also have significant effects to human health such as insomnia and oily faces. The old practice of bariatric surgery has been improved over history since Dr. A.

J Kremen first performed it in 1954 (Korner & Aronne, 2003). Bariatric surgery is a form of bypass made through the intestines of obese patients and linking the lower section of the small intestine and the upper portion of the intestine. This technique was first used on the basis of reducing absorption. The reduction of stomach capacity was later developed in 1966 by Dr. Edward Mason (Korner & Aronne, 2003). This technique was called gastric bypass which was an improvement of the earlier technique. Lately, lap-bands have been employed to deal with the problem of obesity.

The laparoscopic surgery that was first done in Hury, Belgium on September 1, 1993 marked another breakthrough in the management option for obesity (Korner & Aronne, 2003). In 2001, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved the Lap-Band System trademark and are now widely used among a number of obese individuals (Korner & Aronne, 2003). The Future of Obesity Treatment The future treatment options for obesity are promising following the discovery of the gene that can be blamed of obesity, the FTO gene (Henderson, 2007).

The identification of the gene might lead to the discovery of specific treatment of individuals using the new area of research known as pharmacogenomics. While the existing drugs work in some individuals, the drugs often cause negative effects such as oily faces and brain and cardiac damage. ‘Designer drugs’ may be a solution to personalized treatment which will be appropriate for each individual case of obesity. Thanks to the ever increasing knowledge in recombinant DNA technology and pharmacology. A Review of the We Can Anti-Obesity Educational Program

While the problems associated with obesity have ever been escalating, available options such as education and the creation of awareness about the disorder have often shown positive results. This then calls for communities and states to device mechanisms that will put in place programs that will create awareness to high risky populations in order to instigate them make their individual choices (World Health Organization, 2010). Individual decisions on the choice of foods and the general lifestyles have been shown to be integral in the prevention of obesity.

Several states have realized the importance of such initiatives and plans have been piloted and the programs are currently running at community and national levels. One such program is We Can Program (US Department of Health & Human Services, 2010). It is a program initiated jointly with the National Institutive of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Cancer Institute and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The We Can program is a national coalition that is designed to provide caregivers, parents and the entire members of the community the means to assist children between the ages of 8 and 13 years to learn and stay healthy while maintaining the best possible healthy weight (US Department of Health & Human Services, 2010). We Can stands for Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition) and the program extends services to community groups, organizations as well as healthcare professions.

Through the provision of centralized resources, We Can promotes healthy living through encouraging healthy weight maintain ace among youths by employing tools such as media activities, partnership development and community outreach. These tools are designed to meet the diverse needs of different populations. We Can offers training opportunities, support materials, science-oriented education programs and other resources to parents, families and the youths in communities (US Department of Health & Human Services, 2010). The We Can program has shown potential success because its major target is children aged between 8 to 13 years.

Research has shown that caregivers and parents form the primary authority on children of ages between 8 and 13 years (US Department of Health & Human Services, 2010). The parents and the caregivers are therefore the main target for the We Can program. Parents and caregivers are equipped with fun activities and other tools that will encourage children to practice healthy eating, reduced screen time (before computers and TVs) and increased physical exercises (US Department of Health & Human Services, 2010). Children with reduced time before screens have increased physical exercise and have healthy eating choices rarely fall victims of obesity.

We Can program collaborates with caregivers, families, parents, doctors and the media to disseminate critical information about healthy living through the change of lifestyles among vulnerable populations of children between the ages of 8 and 13 years (US Department of Health & Human Services, 2010). Conclusions and Recommendations While the We Can program has attempted to address most of the issues that lead to obesity such as diets and lack of exercise, more effort has to be invested in influencing the school curricula developers to integrate more lessons of physical fitness.

Schools are the only places where all children meet to earn knowledge and in this regard, teachers should take some significant time educating the children about their general health. Parents sometimes become too busy with daily tasks such as jobs and only appear in the late time of the day. The children therefore don’t find time to be advised by their parents. Therefore, teachers can be a good resource for educating the children on the acceptable lifestyles to fight the menace of obesity. Through embracing this option, the word of healthy living will be spread to a large number of individuals. Reference: Henderson, M (2007).

Scientists find ‘genetic cause’ of obesity. Times Online. Retrieved July 6, 2010 from: http://www. timesonline. co. uk/tol/news/science/article1647178. ece Korner, J & Aronne, L. J (2003). The emerging science of body weight regulation and its impact on obesity treatment. American Society for Clinical Investigation. 111(5): 565-570. US Department of Health & Human Services (2010). About We Can! Retrieved July 6, 2010 from: http://www. nhlbi. nih. gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/about- wecan/index. htm World Health Organization (2010). Obesity. Retrieved July 6, 2010 from: http://www. who. int/topics/obesity/en/

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