Nursing

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Nursing

Nurses Addressing the Obesity Epidemic
Joanne Bertrand
The Center for Allied Health Nursing Education

Abstract
The prevalence of obesity is increasing in the United States and globally.   Obesity has been linked as a precursor to many diseases and conditions. It has been recognized as a risk factor to many chronic diseases and premature death.   Children, especially ethnic minorities and low income populations are more at risk for obesity and its co-morbidities.   Some contributors to obesity are physical and social environments that promote foods high in fat and calories.   Coincidently, promote environments with little or no physical activities.   Even with these environments that contribute to bad nutrition and sedentary lifestyles, society still view obesity is as a personal responsibility.   Nurses addressing the obesity epidemic require a shift from the norm of blaming individuals for the lack of will power to control their eating and physical activity but toward a healthy environment as a primary determinant.   This paper addresses the obesity crisis from individual, family, local community and public policy perspectives and the nurses’ role to promote change, advocate for policy initiatives, and help reverse the obesity epidemic.   This paper also addresses the nurse’s role in anticipating obesity related issues, such as, skin, pulmonary, intravenous access, and mobility.   Challenges are considered and interventions to address these issues are presented.

Nurses Addressing the Obesity Epidemic
Obesity is a major concern for the healthcare professional because it has become an epidemic in the United States of America.   More than two thirds of American adults are defined as obese (Roth & Schlenker, 2011).   According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2009), 68% of U.S. adults ages 20 and older in 2007 and 2008 were overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 25, and nearly 34% were obese, with a BMI of at least...

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