Obesity: A Global Health Concern Paper

Required Content

Compared rates of obesity and related health issues in the U.S. to one developed and one developing country.
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Proposed an obesity health promotion and primary prevention strategy a nurse could implement in the U.S Obesity: A Global Health Concern Paper.

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Developed a modified, culturally sensitive obesity health promotion and prevention strategy for use in one other country, why this approach was taken, and anticipated challenges.



Holtz, C. (2017). Global health care: Issues and policies (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

Chapter 8, “Global Perspectives on Selected Chronic Cardiovascular Diseases” (pp. 201-226)

Chapter 12, “Global Perspectives on Diabetes, Respiratory Diseases, and Orthopedic Chronic Diseases” (pp. 325-343)

Review Chapter 14, “Global Perspectives on Nutrition” (pp. 391-395)

Laws, R., Campbell, K. J., van der Pligt, P., Ball, K., Lynch, J., Russell, G., … Denny-Wilson, E. (2015). Obesity prevention in early life: An opportunity to better support the role of maternal and child health nurses in Australia. BioMedCentral Nursing, 14(26), 1–14.

Laureate Education. (Producer). (2010e). Public and global health: The role of the nurse in promoting and preserving health [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

TED. (2013). How an obese town lost a million pounds. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/mick_cornett_how_an_obese_town_lost_a_million_pounds

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 15 minutes. Mayor Mick Cornett talks about how the people of Oklahoma City lost 1 million pounds after being labeled one of the fattest towns in America in a men’s health magazine


Research studies have demonstrated that obesity has become one of the most dangerous health concerns in the world. The position is supported by statistics which reveal that the condition accounts for an estimated annual deaths of around 2.8 million individuals worldwide. These deaths occur as a consequence of the resultant effects of obesity and overweight such as adverse metabolic effects on insulin resistance, triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Further, obesity predisposes a person to risks of suffering certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, ischemic stroke and increased coronary heart condition (Holtz, 2017). In addition to the above, obesity also leads to increased body-mass-index, which exposes people to multifarious types of cancer including colon, gall bladder, kidney, endometrium, prostate, and breast cancers. The rates of mortality in obese individuals are directly correlated with the BMI and as such, the ratio of a patient’s weight vis-à-vis their height needs to be properly checked. The condition has ravaged populations in both the developed and developing nations. However, studies posit that nurses can play an integral role in the management of the same through numerous health promotion activities. In the present research, the existence and prevalence of obesity in the United States, China and Haiti will form the basis of the discussion in addition to the health promotion and primary prevention activities that can be adopted to mitigate its adverse effects Obesity: A Global Health Concern Paper.

Obesity in the United States

The United States is the arguably the most developed countries in the world yet even this status has not spared it from the scourge of the incommunicable disease known as obesity. More critically, the cases of obesity amongst children in the United States are still high despite a statistical decrease in the same. According to Holtz (2017), the United States registers cases of childhood obesity in one out eight preschoolers, which is a significant figure and health problem for the country. The author further postulates that obese children have a high likelihood of becoming obese adults, a phenomenon that will expose them to lifelong conditions as highlighted above. He further contends that the rate of childhood obesity is still high in the United States despite catalogued declines in certain states in the recent past. Specifically, obesity in the U.S. affects members of the minority communities such as black-Americans and Hispanic populations with 19% and 16% of children in these populations suffering from obesity respectively.

Further, the United States has also registered worrying levels of adult obesity. According to a CDC study that was conducted between the period 2015-2016, more than 39.9% of adults in the United States are obese (Hames et al., 2017). The same study states that out of these numbers, 37.9% of the affected individuals were men while 41.1% were women. The condition results in approximately 400000 deaths annually and has negatively impacted healthcare use and costs. Therefore, just like other countries, the United States also grapples with the issue of obesity.

Obesity in China

The explosion of childhood obesity in China is a conundrum that would have taken ages to decipher. However, this was to be expected as the country moved from developing to a developed nation, which meant that its populace was exposed to causative agents of obesity. According to the country’s healthcare statistics, China has a registered obesity rate of 5% but certain cities register obesity rates of more than 20% (Zhou et al., 2017). Nevertheless, it is the rate of childhood obesity that has worried experts more due to its implosion in the recent past. Holtz (2017) states that the “The proportion of obesity among children under the age of 15 increased from 15% in 1982 to 27% in 2003. Other studies corroborate the assertion made by Holtz (2017) by postulating that the implosion is 15-fold amongst both boys and girls.

Medical specialists in China have blamed the implosion of childhood obesity rates on Western lifestyles. Increasing levels of rural income and general income amongst Chinese ensures that the children have the capacity to buy fast foods as influenced by effective advertisements from U.S. food giants such as KFC and MacDonald’s. Moreover, the prevalence of childhood obesity can also be linked to the sedentary lifestyle led by this population. The absence of any form of physical activity, as well as binge watching YTV programs, has led to increased levels of obesity in China Obesity: A Global Health Concern Paper.

Obesity in Haiti

In one of the paradoxes of our time, Haiti, a country that has been synonymous with hunger and malnutrition, currently has the highest rates of obesity in the word. Almost half of the country’s population (38.5 %) is overweight due to changing patterns in diet (Morshed et al., 2016). According to a study, increased urbanization, economic growth, integration of the country into global economic blocks, and higher average incomes has ensured that Haitians and Latin Americans have reduced the consumption of their delicacies. Instead, the country’s population has been exposed to ultra-processed food products, which has predisposed them to obesity. Government reports also suggest that in Haiti, over 7% of children under the age of 5 suffer from obesity and overweight problems (Morshed et al., 2016). Indeed, the largest increase in obesity in Haiti has been noticed in children since the 1990s. Therefore, as much as Haiti is still developing and is still eons away from becoming a nutritionally-functional state, obesity still affects its citizenry with children being the most affected.

Obesity Prevention Interventions

        According to the CDC, community-wide campaigns are effective tools that nations can adopt so as to reduce obesity. The United States has one of the most educated populations in the world and its remarkable accessibility to mass media; it becomes paramount that nurses consider using this approach. The approach is multicomponent and it may include the utilization of newspaper columns, radio, television, and movie trailers to deliver the message. However, while the above is broad, other a nurse could engage in a specific on-the-ground component of the same. Specifically, risk factor screening (Law et al., 2015) and education at schools could help the U.S. reduce the prevalence of obesity amongst its children and adult populations in the long-term. The screening and nutritional education at schools will enable at risk children to understand the proper diet that they should consume to avoid becoming obese.


        Nurses in Haiti can also devise an intervention that may help them to reverse the proliferating cases of obesity. Given that it is a developing country, educational awareness regarding the dangers of obesity and the diet that can be used to control it need to be adopted. A nurse could tailor their intervention to involve the education of the affected and at-risk populations (“Laureate Education”, 2010e) of the need to eat their local delicacies. This will be effective since those foods are readily available and they are locally-produced and so they can be easily accessed. Also, the educational program needs to include the portions of servings and how to eat them. However, there are going to be challenges when it comes to the implementation of this educational awareness campaign. Globalization and the access to televisions as well as the effective marketing campaigns adopted by fast food companies mean that the Haitians are more exposed to the Western ways of living and they are adopting them. In addition, the kind of financial demands by the program means that it may not be adopted by the government as priorities are given to other sectors of a predominantly poor nation.

While devising the educational awareness strategies, it is incumbent upon nurses to consider the ethical, cultural, economic, political, and environmental issues. A nurse should be aware of ethical pitfalls that include victim blames, stigmatization and health inequalities reinforcement. In addition, a nurse will need to examine the contextual cultural influence on the existing eating and sedentary lifestyles of the targeted population before designing a corresponding intervention program. Studies have also revealed that the prevailing political environment (whether governments are willing to support the initiatives), economic environment (whether the economy has enough money to support the intervention) and the environmental aspect (whether the targeted population stays in sprawls) may influence the adoption of the intervention strategies and thus nurses need to take cognizance Obesity: A Global Health Concern Paper.


        Obesity is a complex disease that occurs due to multifactorial agents. Several countries are currently strategizing on how to handle the condition. Whereas it initially used to majorly affect developed nations such as the United Sates, the changing dynamics and the spread of Western cultures has meant that even developing countries are being affected. Significantly, childhood obesity has been on the increase recently in the United States, China and even Haiti. Strategies such as awareness campaigns and community-wide campaigns need to be adopted so as to control its spread.


Evans, D., Coutsaftiki, D., & Fathers, C. P. (2017). Health promotion and public health for nursing students. Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage Publications

Hames, C., Caroll, M., Fryar, C., & Ogden CL. (2017, October). Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2015 … Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29155689

Holtz, C. (2017). Global health care: Issues and policies (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

Laureate Education. (Producer). (2010e). Public and global health: The role of the nurse in promoting and preserving health [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author

Laws, R., Campbell, K. J., van der Pligt, P., Ball, K., Lynch, J., Russell, G., … Denny-Wilson, E. (2015). Obesity prevention in early life: An opportunity to better support the role of maternal and child health nurses in Australia. BioMedCentral Nursing, 14(26), 1–14.

Morshed, A. B., Becker, H. V., Delnatus, J. R., Wolff, P. B., & Iannotti, L. L. (2016). Early nutrition transition in Haiti: linking food purchasing and availability to overweight status in school-aged children. Public Health Nutrition, 19(18), 3378-3385

Trattner, C., Parra, D., & Elsweiler, D. (2017). Monitoring obesity prevalence in the United States through bookmarking activities in online food portals. Plos ONE, 12(6), 1-20.

Zhou, L., Zeng, Q., Jin, S., & Cheng, G. (2017). The impact of changes in dietary knowledge on adult overweight and obesity in China. Plos ONE, 12(6), 1-11 Obesity: A Global Health Concern Paper.

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