Virtual Health Education Program on Obesity


VirtualHealth Education Program on Obesity

Recognizingthe Issue

Inthe contemporary world, there exist several emerging health issuesthat cut across persons of all walks of life. The common ones includeobesity, heart disease, STDs, diabetes, hypertension, H1N1, and AIDS.Majorityof these diseases are lifestyle related, as opoosedto those that develop by virtue of natural causes. As a resultthese diseases can only be curbedor minimized by adopting healthy lifestyle choices from early childdevelopment to adulthood and finally old age. Each disease is usuallyprevalent in certain age groups, for instancehypertension is rampant amongst adults as compared to children.Obesity cuts across all the age groups. Diabetisisusually foundamongst adults, especially those past the age of fifty (Hills, King &ampByrne, 2007). Among these diseases, the issue in this milieu will beobesity.

Obesitysteps in when one has excessive fat in the body. This condition iscapable of causing heart problems, diseases such as diabetismellitus,and certain forms of cancer, all of which are life-threatening(Hills,King &amp Byrne, 2007).Obesity results due to the intake of lots of calories in formof fat by both adults and children in excess of what is required bythe body. The body itself produces its ownfat, and that which is consumed externally tends to be surplus to thebodily limit (Hills,King &amp Byrne, 2007).Henceif not burnt down in form of exercises or utilized in the event thatthere is a deficit of energy hence the stored fat is the otheralternative source, it places one at the risk of being obese.

Inthis context, focus will be on children and how they are at risk ofbeing obese, especially attributable to their lifestyle. Astudy previously conducted in Scotland indicated that chidren betweenthe age of three years to five years spend very limited time onphysical activity, the average being only three percent of a day(Kopelman&amp Stock, 2005).In consequence of this, they tend to accumulate high levels of fatsdue to the low level of physical activity that results toreduced energy expenditure. Despite lackof physical activity being the prime cause for obesity in children,other factors such as cognitive, physical and psychologicaldevelopment tend to be contributory factors (Kopelman&amp Stock, 2005).

Forexample, a child may lack the space required to play due to theenvirons in which they are housed hence limiting them to spendingtime indoors (Kopelman&amp Stock, 2005).The child is therefore denied the opportunity of interacting with theneigbourhood,hence fail to physically, socially and mentally test themselves inearly life situations, an event that will impact them in laterstages. Additionally, the child may live in a secluded environment,such as that in gatedcommunitiesas compared to estates (Kopelman&amp Stock, 2005).Such a child will beaccustomedto solitude, and consequently lack the urge of spending time withother childen of the same age group. Thisplaces them at risk of being obese due to lack of physical activity,and the other factor in play will be the psyvhological torture ofhaving to be condemened to isolation and seclusion from the externalenvironment (Kopelman&amp Stock, 2005).

Tocurb this menace, children are required to be subjected to activitiessuch as evening play, taking a walk or even cycling which not onlyreduces the risk of being obese but also gives them exposure to theexternal world.If this isimplemented,their rate of phycal activity will drastically improve, and the riskof being obese will be largely reduced. Another way in which thisissue can be curtailed is the introduction of VirtualHealth Education Programs.

Oneof the most dramatic changes to health care and program delivery camewith the advent of the internet. Individuals and community membersnow use the internet to seek health information, and ultimately makedecisions about the type of care they want and receive. As a result,web resources have given Health Educators creative freedom to designand implement programs in ways never imaginable. Majorityof community members rely on the internet to obtain information andeducation. This paper will hence entail the designing of a userfriendly virtual resource that members can use to access healtheducation service related to curbing obesity in children.

Gainingentry into the community

Theoverall community is the central unit that obesity impactson.In designing of the Virtual Health Education Program for children toaid in the curbing of obesity, there has to be an effective entrystrategy into the community of the program. Such aprogramis required to be accesibleby a large number of persons, especially the parents who bear theresponsibility of taking care of their children. The program shouldtake the form of distance education, by employing several means ofcommunication to access learners located in varied locationssimultaneously. Communication can be enhanced by utilizingtechnologies such as television broadcasting, computers, telephonesor video conferencing, just to highlight a few.

Inthis set up, the web based platform will be utilized for the VirtualHealth Education Program, to facilitate easier access of theinformation relating to obesity and how it can be curbed amongstchildren (Herndon, 2014).This will take the form of a distance learning program,since the internet had proved to be a vital and more preferredinformation source compared to the other sources. Currently, overhalf of the world’s population has access to internetconnectivity, and this is made possible majorly via computers andmobile phones (Herndon, 2014).

Childrenfrom ages five and above are capable of comfortably accessinginternetsince they areat this time exposedto gadgets such as mobile handsets (Herndon, 2014). Hence having ahealth education program that is web based will be the best entrymechanism in the community as majorityof the population are proficient enough in accessing internet.The forum will entail having online facilitators who will beresponsible forthe planning, guidance and evaluation of the entire learning process.There will also be online advertisements and sensitization of theeffects of obesity and the mechanisms in which persons can shun itaway, particularly children. Such a platform will also be free foraccess,so that financial hitches will not bar the community from accessingthe vital information that will be existant there.

Organizingthe people

TheVirtual Health Education Program designed will provide healthbenefits that will be beneficial to everyone across the divide sinceobesity is a grave issue. The prime concern will however, be thechildren. Children areconsideredas the people more at risk of being obese since they have very littleinfluencing concerningtheir food choices (Herndon, 2014). As a result, the Virtual HealthEducation Program will be designed in a way that it will target boththe children and adults alike. Thepeople will be organized in such a way that children get morededicated time and access to information, whereas the time allocatedfor the adults will be quite limited since to them the parametersthat will be provided to them will only be the guidelines on how tonuture their kids.

Suchan organization will be critical in enabling both adults and childrenbenefit from the Virtual Health Education Program, since the adultsare also victims of obesity. The children will, however, be the mainbeneficiaries as the program isspecifically designedfor them. Theadults will be required to step in to offer guidelines on how toimplement the suggested changes for instance in their lives and toalso ellaborate some of the medical jargon that may be quiteintricate to the children.Involvement of both adults and children will also result to a strongbond between them, as all of them will feel part and parcel of theactivities and learning experiences of the program.

Assessingthe community

Pastresearch, particularly that carried out by the Centre for DiseaseControl and Prevention indicated that nearly a third of the entirepopulation is obese (Kopelman &amp Stock, 2005). This was analarming statistic,since the number has almost trippledfrom what was there in the early 1960’s.The shocking part is that as the number of adults who are obesedoubled, the number of children who were reported obese tripled(Kopelman &amp Stock, 2005). This is quite discouraging, and withthis trend obesity is bound to hit levels where it may not only be anational epidemic, but may affect a hefty portion of the world’spopulation. Many countries, international communities and the UnitedNations have placed health as one of their key concerns. Asa result, a lot of investment hasbeen put towards health, and significant gains have been made asevidenced by enhanced health levels, reduced mortality rates andimproved and easier access to health facilities. The danger thatobesity poses, however, is that the gains will be insignificant sinceit has not been given prime priority (Kopelman &amp Stock, 2005).

Asaforementioned, obesity greatly increases the risk of many othersecondary related diseases developing. Inassessing the community, research has it that close to seventypercent of heart related diseases are caused by body fat being inexcessive amounts in the body, hence settling in the arteries and themuscles around the heart (Kopelman &amp Stock, 2005).Consequently, persons who are obese face a larger risk of contractingheart diseases such as hypertension. Obese people also face the riskof colorectralcancer, and women who are obese face the potential riskof developing breast cancer. Statisticsalso indicate that over 80 percent ofpersons who have diabetismelitusare usually obese (Kopelman &amp Stock, 2005).

Anassessment of the community indicates potential discriminationtowards people who are obese, leading to the experience of social andpsychological problems. There are several stereotypes about personswho are fat, whereas inreal sensethey are obese (Herndon, 2014). Thismakesit difficult for them to come out to the community and seek means onhow they can curb the condition. People experience bias in severalplaces, from school,to social life and even in places of employment (Herndon, 2014).Obesity is not irreversible, and with dedication towards exercise andhealthy eating, a person can resort back to their normal selves. Thisintolerance usually targets women in most societies, and theirappearences are usually adjudged by their body sizes (Herndon, 2014).

Determiningthe priorities and setting goals

Thereare three maincauses of obesity biological factors, genetics, and unhealthylifestyles (Hills, King &amp Byrne, 2007). Biological factors playan important role incontrolling the entire body weight. If one utilizes more caloriesthan the required energy amount to maintain the body functions, thenthis is bound to affect weight loss and the overalbody weight (Hills, King &amp Byrne, 2007). This may ultimatelyresult toobesity. The genetical makeupof an individual can also be a causal factor of obesity, but on avery small scale. This was seen in one research conducted on childrenwho had been adopted. Onchecking their body weights when they were grown up, there was aclose relation in their weights and that of their biological parents,distinct from that of their adopted parents (Hills, King &amp Byrne,2007).The priority here, however, will be on the unhealthy lifestylesadopted by the individuals, with mainfocus on diet and physical activity.

Themain goal, as a result, will be to change the lifestyles ofindividuals in terms of their diet and their take up of physicalactivity.Increased consumption of calories and low levels of physical activityhave been pointed out as the main causes of obesity as it isprevalent to date (Hills, King &amp Byrne, 2007). There hasdeveloped a wide range of food options that tend to be moreconvenient as they require less work and time to prepare. Thesefoods, however, contain greatlevels of sugar and fat. Childrenand adults alike, spend very little time engaging in physicalactivity as the latter tend to spend more time at work and the formerprefer to engage in alternative entertainment sources such as playingvideo games and playstation, watching television and browsing theinternet.There has also been a significant decline in physical educationclasses in schools, and most of the children’s time isspentin class (Hills, King &amp Byrne, 2007).

Thegoals, hence, are aimed at bringing in factors that curtail suchactivities that pose the risk of obesity developing. A key goalis the discouraging of excessive use of devices that are laboursaving and as a result lead to a reduction in physical activity.Among these devices include motor vehicles, lifts, elevators,computers and even remote controls (Hills, King &amp Byrne, 2007).These devices promote a sedentary lifestyle amongst persons hencethe excessive calories are not burnt down. This declined physicalactivity reduces the amount of energy spent by individuals, resultingtoobesity in the long run (Hills, King &amp Byrne, 2007).

Arrivingat a solution and selecting intervention strategies

Obesityis capable of being managed by having gooddiet, doing exercises, and overalmodification of behaviourlike reducing the sedentary lifestyle engaged in by persons.Intervention strategies will involve promoting of healthy diets,engaging in exercisein the form of physical activity, and modification of behavioursof individuals (Kopelman &amp Stock, 2005). Each of these strategieswill bepromotedby the virtual health education program, which will be webbasedto sensitize a large number of individuals at a reduced cost due tothe resultant economies of scale. The progrmwill entail how a combination of these three factors can result toa reduced risk of being obese and managing it for the persons who arealready victims.

Implementingthe plan

Thevirtual health program will illustrate how each of these mechanismscan help prevent obesity. The program will bedesignedin such a way that each strategy will have time and facilitatorsdedicated to it to serve as guides in implementing them. When onelogs in, they can be able to choose the specific strategy that theywant illustrated to them, and apopup window will appear indicating how the strategy works.

Takingmoderate quantities of a diet that is low in calories and balancednutritionally serves as the treatment method that is more common andvery conservative. The recommended diet will be children taking foodshaving a combined calorie level of appproximately 1300 calories. Thefoods should contain majorityof cabohydrate, around 60 percent, then 30 percent of fat and theremaining 10 percent attributable to proteins (Kopelman &amp Stock,2005).

Exerciseranks as the best treatment of achieving weight loss. Engagingin exercise on a regular basis alsoreduces the secondary medical conditions that areassociatedwith obesity, such as type 2 diabetismellitus, high levels of cholesterola and hypertension (Herndon,2014). Modification of behavioursof individuals will entail possession of a food diary which will be arecord where they will input their patterns of eating and drinking.It will also entail having a meal timetable, to ensure the meals arecombined in the right ratios as has been aforementioned. They shouldalso reduce the engagement in sedentary activities.

Evaluatingthe outcomes of the plan of action

Thechildren who will consistently take up meals that have significantlylow levels of calories consistentlywill lose close to ten percent of their entire body weight in a timespan of 20 weeks. Muchlower calorie levels, like 800 calories in a day, will result to aweight loss of roughly 18 percent in a period of only 16 weeks(Hills, King &amp Byrne, 2007).

Therisk of going off the lowcaloriediet will be the gaining of over half of the weight lost within aspan of one year (Hills, King &amp Byrne, 2007). Engaging in regularexercises serves as the best factor of weight reduction. Unlikecaloric restriction whichis usually short term, exercise serves as a longtermsolution to curb excessive weight. Maintaining a diary of foodsconsumed is capable of revealing the patterns of adherence toeffective diets. As a result, there can be developed mechanismscapable of barring eating habits termed as unhealthy and unwanted.

Maintainingthe outcomes in the community

Theoutcomeswill bemaintainedby continuos sensitization and promotion of the activites pertaken toreduce obesity via the virtual health education program. The webbased program will also be improved in terms of the categories offood and the exercises promoted. Theoutcomes can also be maintained by venturing in other mechanisms toreach a wider range of children like the introduction of compulsorydiet classes in schools where they are sensitized on how they cancontrol the risk of obesity at early stages.Apart from the webbasedprogram, the venture can involve other media such as the television,newspapers and magazines, and the radio. Once the message of curbingobesity is all ovethe community, the chances of positive results will be highlyboosted.


Herndon,A. M. (2014). Fatblame: How the war on obesity victimizes women and children.Lawrence, Kan: University Press of Kansas.

Hills,A. P., King, N. A., &amp Byrne, N. M. (2007). Children,obesity and exercise: Prevention, treatment, and management ofchildhood and adolescent obesity.London: Routledge.

Kopelman,P. G., &amp Stock, M. J. (2005). Clinicalobesityin adults and children.Malden, Mass: Blackwell Pub.