Health care policy analysis is an action or a strategy formulated to achieve a certain objective in society. A policy defines a vision, priorities, and roles of different groups in its implementation. It can also be used to curb ailments affecting people, such as obesity among others. The latter is a health problem affecting the majority of Americans, especially the young generation (Marmor, 1994). Maryland is a state located in America, which has formulated a strategy to control obesity by having a health care policy that is crucial to its people.
One of the policies that were identified was that of taking action at the individual level based on the social-ecological model, which acted as an encouragement to citizens, and they started measuring their body mass index (BMI) (Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2002). They also focused on achieving, and maintaining a healthy weight, which helped individuals know their weight progress from time to time (Almgren, 2007). This knowledge enables an individual to implement physical weight reduction programs, such as exercises and the reduction of fatty foods, which result into a weight gain in a long run. Maryland created so much awareness through setting up measuring weights in health centers. It enabled individuals to check their weight, even if they were not sick. After an individual has checked his or her body mass index, an advice is given to them through the media and social connectivity. A person can compare his or her weight and height. As a result, this has achieved a tremendous positive response in the state by advising people on how to maintain themselves.
The social-ecological model has yielded better results, because a person is capable of knowing the weight consequences. Most people can come up with strategies to improve their diet and exercises, which later can normalize their body mass index (Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2002). Maryland has also adopted a national health policy on obesity in the implementation of the strategy by incorporating a health weight program (Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2002). This policy requires an individual to learn tips on how to lose weight and ways of preventing an increase in it. The evaluation of this policy is conducted through measuring a body mass index after the duration of time. It is done through a checklist in health centers, especially for people, who have a problem, and a response through questionnaires and mail posts to citizens (Mason, 2007).
It makes it easier for the state health department to have accurate information to adopt an evaluation and analysis policy. Policies of taking action at the family and community levels have also been designed (Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2002). They are part the social-ecological model, being widely recognized. These strategies put stress on knowing people’s children body mass index. Again, it encourages physical activities that will enable them to live a healthy lifestyle for combating obesity. The program also involves breastfeeding children for healthy growth that may have an effect on their mass index. Parents should also have ideas to help children maintain a healthy body to evade obesity that can affect them later in life.
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After the family level, community awareness is considered through engaging in community programs that emphasize that obesity is a problem affecting people. Through teamwork, better strategies can be made, as it is easy to compose ideas of many people through lectures and seminars. Monitoring this policy is easy because responses from community members on health programs are easy to receive through gatherings and meetings. Experts get support from the community and can analyze the situation and its weaknesses for combating obesity. Thus, the policy of taking action at the family, community, and individual levels makes it easy to draw attention of the majority of citizens to uphold its implementation and yield positive results. The framework that focuses mainly on the outcomes is called the PRECEDE-PROCEED model (Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2002).
Other policies of combating obesity are taxing heavily on sugary foods and beverages that cause this problem to people. It is clear that sugary foods (fatty foods) are the prime cause of obesity. Hence, as a result of taxing them more, these foods become more expensive. Therefore, their consumption decreases with time. The policy ascertains that obesity complications have resulted into a cost burden for the government health sector, as it tries to control it. It has forced the latter to implement policies to reduce this problem in society. According to policy experts, obesity thrives in a low-income society, where feeding habits are poor (Folland, 2007). As a result, measures have been drafted to combat this environment by giving farmers subsidies in order to improve food production, especially of products with a low sugar and fat capacity to ensure a reduced cholesterol level helping to get rid of obesity complications. The policy also incorporates healthy exercises, such as cycling and walking, and encourages healthy foods to be given to children during lunch at schools.
It is clear that due to the implementation of the taxation of these types of food leading to obesity, there will be a positive result. It is because manufactures will be forced to change product ingredients and produce food that has low amounts of fats. Their consumption rate may be determined easily by looking at the consumer market index. It is done by taking a certain product and analyzing its influence on a body mass index of individuals, who have undergone this fatty-free food procedure by switching to other types of food that are cheap, but healthy.
The policy that involves the social-ecological model is comprehensive due to health issues. It concerns individuals taking care of themselves and provides learning tips on how to maintain the body mass index at the optimal level. The tax policy may be a bit reliable, because taxing on these types of food does not imply that an individual will not buy them. It can reduce the sale of these foods with a small margin, but the best way is to create awareness through acknowledging consequences of obesity and formulating positive strategies (Herzlinger, 2007). These may include taking action at the family, community, and individual levels, making a person have the desire to know his or her body mass index and come up with ways to fight obesity. It is easy to monitor and evaluate this health care policy and its weakness. Monitoring can be done after implementing the policy by using internal control and targets, which act as benchmarks for comparison purposes. These targets are the ones, which measure the policy value and whether it has achieved its objective.
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