Child obesity has increased rampantly over the years since the 1970s. The sudden increase and prevalence of childhood obesity have made obesity to become a major public health catastrophe both internationally and nationally. Even the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged the disturbing reports on child obesity. Statistics from CDC (2017) indicated that for one in every five children whose years range from 6-19 is a victim of child obesity. This number is quite alarming given the long and short term effects of the disease on this age group. Obese children are at higher risk of being infected by chronic health diseases like asthma and diabetes as well as getting mocked or teased by their peers which could lead to low self-esteem. Due to this, it is imperative that a policy is developed to ensure that the numbers of obese children do not stay on the increase but rather decrease with time.
Objective of the policy
The objective of the policy will be ‘To control, eliminate, and prevent cases of childhood obesity arising from genetic, behavioural, or environmental factors.’
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Formulation of the Policy
Formulation of the policy starts from public concern, opinion, and demand. The public is always at the forefront when it comes to influencing the formulation of health care policies as they are the ones directly affected. Most actions taken by the government are largely influenced by the public’s opinion, and this involves even policy changes. The public determines what issues they think should be addressed quickly and in what way they should be addressed to ensure that their needs are met.
For a long while now, the larger American population, both black and white have been expressing their growing concern over increasing cases of child obesity (Karnik and Kanekar, 2012). This makes it a paramount agenda in the nation’s policy development. It is this public opinion and needs that influence the formulation of this policy to reduce the prevalence of child obesity.
Process of Policy Formulation
The process of formulation involves the identifying of a range of actions that provide a solution to the concerns of the public (ushistory.org, (2016). Since there is already a concern about the growing rates of child obesity, it is during this process that possible solutions should be identified. The next step after identification of solutions is the conducting of analysis to find out the ones that are viable. The analysis is performed by consideration of some factors which are: the cost and resources required for implementation, the probability of effectiveness, community support, and the political context of each solution.
It is at this stage when stakeholders are involved in helping in analysing the matter (ushistory.org, 2016). Stakeholders, in this case, include organizations like the CDC, other health institutions, and the public. These help in finding concrete solutions in the provision of a policy that tackles the problem of concern. They also play a significant role in helping push the policy past the legislation stage.
The Legislation Stage
The legislation stage is the next step after the formulation stage, and it is where the policy undergoes legal review and discussion to determine its viability. In this stage, experts check what laws are in place concerning the policy. It is the stage where policy is legitimized. It is also where resources needed for the implementation of a policy are provided (ushistory.org, 2016).
The Legislative Body’s Approval Process
The approval process in the legislative stage consists of a series of activities. The policy is first presented to the legislative body for a review. A series of discussions is upheld by the respective legislative bodies to determine the significance and drive of the policy before legislating it. Once it passes the first stage, which could be state legislation, it is then presented to the Congress where members have to vote in support or against the policy. A policy gains substantial ground when it is supported by more than 50% of the total votes cast. It is then signed into policy by the president. Nevertheless, it should be understood that the president has the authority to veto the policy in the case where they do not agree with it even after Congress passes it on.
Stakeholders play a very crucial role in the approval of policy. They influence significant decision makers to make the approval in their favor. They campaign for the policy and ensure that they garner up as much support as possible. Stakeholders always form a channel for influencing the decision that will be made. Nevertheless, stakeholders are also involved in decision-making, which makes them have a better shot at making the policy to be approved (“Policy and the policymaking process,” n.d.).
The Implementation Stage
This is the final stage in policy making. It comes immediately after the policy has passed the policy legislation stage, has been approved, and the necessary resources (like funding) have been allocated (ushistory.org, 2016). It is a very significant stage in that it brings the policy into existence. Many policies are passed but are not implemented. It is important to ensure that once a policy has been legislated, it is implemented.
Parties Accountable for Implementation of a policy
The government forms the largest accountable party for the legislation of any policy. They are not only responsible for legislating it but also ensuring that it is successfully implemented (“Policy and the policymaking process,” n.d.). They should provide resources that are required, which is mostly in funding, to ensure that the policy comes into effect. Moreover, the government should ensure that it performs a follow-up on the implementation of the policy so that funding provided does not get misused or corrupted.
The policy makers also play a significant role in the implementation of the policy (“Policy and the policymaking process,” n.d.). Since they are the ones who have an obligation to the policy, they should ensure that the right mechanisms and structures are put in place. They should see to it that the various liable agencies are put to task and ensure that funding is not corrupted.
The public also plays a significant role in the implementation of policy. Since it is their opinions and needs that influence the policy formulation in the first place, they have an obligation to ensuring that it goes through successfully to implementation ((“Policy and the policymaking process,” n.d.). They have the right to demand to know how far the implementation process has gone, as well as to question any shortcomings they see. They have the voice to ensure that policies are not just legislated but are also brought into existence.
Child obesity, as earlier on mentioned, is a public health disaster that needs urgent attention. If the rates keep increasing as they have been from year to year, the future generations will be highly affected by the infections. Chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes will also increase tremendously which means that there is a probability of loss of lives due to the infection in the future (Karnik and Kanekar, 2012). This forms the significance of having a policy that sees the regulation and control of childhood obesity. The policy will bring to the table methods and ways of reducing the rates of child obesity, probably through diet controls for the young ones and physical exercise as children develop.
“Policy and the policymaking process.” (n.d.). Jones & Bartletlett Learning LLC . Retrieved on 23 February 2017, from https://cursos.campusvirtualsp.org/mod/resource/view.php?id=16032.
CDC. (2017). Childhood Obesity Facts. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention . Retrieved on 23 February 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm.
Karnik, S. & Kanekar, A. (2012). Childhood Obesity: A Global Public Health Crisis. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 3 (1), 1-7.
ushistory.org. (2016). 11. Policy Making: Political Interactions. American Government. Retrieved on 23 February 2017, from http://www.ushistory.org/gov/11.asp.