Obesity in Los Angeles County Essay

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Note the similarity in percentages between those with no High School and those at or below the federal poverty level. Also note the decrease in obesity rates as education and income increase (Los Angeles County Public Health, 2003). Further, when we track populations over time based on ethnicity, we do see that obesity is rising across the board, but at a more rapid rate for latino and African-American populations than for Whites or asians. This trend is particularly alarming for the African-American community, with an almost 10 point jump in just 5 years (Office of Health Assessment).

Community Resources

Clearly there is an obesity problem in Los Angeles County. The overall conclusions as to the reasons are very similar to that of other communities, particularly those with large ethnic populations: lack of nutritional education, fast-food availability, lack of home mealtime, excessive snacking, sedentary lifestyles, and no consistent community plan to offer healthy alternatives. The county does have the advantage of being located near a large agricultural center, but that product does not always make its way into the inner city environment. Still, in the last decade, the county has identified a number of issues that can directly impact the obesity impact:

Ban schools from selling soda pop or high sugar drinks.

Continue with program to prohibit all forms of advertising of candy, fast food, and soft drinks.

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Increase percentage of students who participate in PE or intramural activities

Increase standards at the schools so 100% of all students have at least 1 health education class dealing with nutrition

Continue to prioritze parks and support community recreation options

Use tax incentives to allow Farmer's Markets or stands to become regular parts of the inner city

Encourage employers to establish and maintain a Health Maintenance Program

Essay on Obesity in Los Angeles County Assignment

Include BMI as part of all physical exam

Establish a referral network (nutrition counseling, peer support, etc.) (Office of Health Assessment).


On June 22, 2010, President Obama issued an Executive Order to promote fitness in the schools and workplace and has proclaimed May as "National Physical Fitness and Sports Month." The Executive Order states a presidential request that "Americans work toward meeting the National Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans as set by the Department of Health and Human Services." By implementing Healthy Community Initiative Program (HCIP) within our community we can provide our employees an incentive to join with other Americans to participate in healthy physical activity, fitness, sports participation, and good nutrition (Executive Order on Physical Fitness, 2010). Because of the rising rates of obesity in Los Angeles County, it is important that we start with a basic HCIP plan to address the majority of the community's needs.

Outcome Identification

Evidence shows that work site and community health related programs can decrease obesity, improve quality of life, and provide a greater sense of community development and morale within the community. For Los Angeles County, then we can form these overall initiatives through a series of both medical and Public Health programs:

Nursing interventions -- Education based on both public school systems and companies and organizations regarding increased physical activitiy which improves several bodily functions. Second, the weight loss and improved uptake of insulin reduces inflamation. Third, the reduction of weight reduces stress on the bones, reducing arthtitis issues. Fourth, a combination of a healthy diet and a reduction in weight significantly reduces Type II Diabetes, Hypertension, and Heart Disease (Carnethon and Craft, 2008).

Opportunities -- Provide incentives through workplace initiatives that tie with the school system. The design, implementation and evaluation stages of a health promotion program is to have a number of commonalities across platforms. Before any program can even hope for success, it must have critical mass from community leaders to even hope to be successful. State, regional, and local leaders, along with significant time and tactical management from business leaders and local Public Health Officials tend to produce far more favorable results (Watts, Donahue, Eddy and Wallace, 2001).

Replacement and Implementation -- Since there really is no community-wide health intervention program and the local healthcare facilities are primarily focused on treatment rather than prevention, the programs will be new. Particularly with the Government's new focus on the health of the nation, epitomized in the Healthy People 2010 Initiative, a realization that worksite health promotion is critical is shown by emphasizing it in eight different objectives. For example, the target range for Object 7-5 is that 75% of worksites with 50 or more employees will offer a comprehensive employee health promotion program to their employees (Healthy People 2010). Our proposal moves that number to all worksites with at least 5 employees and includes 100% of employees and students at all County Public Schools.


The mission and goals of the plan is to merge physiology, nursing treatment, pharmacology, and psychology into a Healthy Initiative Plan that will integrate Public Health, private healthcare, and the local business community into a synthesis of overall community health improvement, particularly in the areas of:

Reduction of obesity and surrounding issues

Reduction of smoking and all tobacco use

Reduction of substance and alcohol abuse

Better access and education for children and adults re: nutrition, healthy eating, and exercise


Measurment and Community Effects - We must also remember that the workplace is an important venue for influencing community and institutional factors within the entire realm of a sociological/ecological model. In the U.S. up to 33% or more time is spent at work or commutting - possibly more the Los Angeles Area. When Health Promotion Activities are offered at work, behaviors are emphasized that tend to reduce obesity and illness. In addition, health education in the workplace helps build cammeraderie and is easier for the worker to translate some of those behaviors to home (Stokols, Pelletier and Fielding, 1995) Measurement would tie primarily to three specific areas:

Data from schools and organizations on target weight reduction, visits to hospitals and clinics.

Data from Public Health files primarily focusing on Countywide statistics for health issues, substance abuse, and integrating tracking of DUI and substance arrest records from law enforcement.

Survey (bi-annual) to the community to gauge efficacy of program, participation levels, and services still needed.


The process of implementing a plan such as this, particularly in a large county like LA may be problematic. To be effective, there must be a merger of Federal, State, Regional (County) and Local (city) resources both for budgetary reasons and logistics. Money will be needed for promotional activities, education, transportation; volunteers will be needed to help implement programs, and at the guerilla marketing level, the local community service organizations, PTAs, religious groups, and social activists will need to come together in tandem for the purposes of improving the quality of the community.

It is important that implementing such a program be interdisciplinary: hospitals, clinics, private physicians, denitists, mental health workers, public health professionals, social workers, educational administrators, the clergy, and even the business community must come together. Funding would need to be shared between at least four levels: private donantions and volunteers, Federal health education funding and grants; State health funding and grants, and local budget and fund drives aimed specifically at the community. The issue is that while it may seem expensive, the idea of health prevention is less costly than health treatment. Overall, the community-based health promotion program would actually lower State and Federal medical costs based on regular health care and a healthier population. Studies have shown that preventative care (for example, quitting smoking, adapting diet, nutrition, exercise, and substance counseling) can save over 70% of healthcare costs when compared to heart, lung, diabetes, and substance problems, not to mention the decrease in Emergency Room visits and costs (Mahar, 2006).



About Health People. (2012, December 17). Retrieved from HealthyPeople.gov: http://healthypeople.gov/2020/about/default.aspx

Executive Order on Physical Fitness. (2010, June 22). Retrieved from The President's Council on Physical Fitness: http://www.fitness.gov/about/order/index.html

Overweight and Obesity, (2008) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Retrieved

from: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa / obesity / economic_consequences.htm

Brinkley, M. (April 2010). Diseases that list Obesity as a Risk Factor. Livestrong.com. Retrieved from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/106769-diseases-list-obesity-risk-factor/

California Center for Public Health Advocacy. (2009, July). The Economic Costs of Overweight, Obesity, and Physical Inactivity Among California Adults. Retrieved from publichealthadvocacy.org: http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/costofobesity.html

Carnethon and Craft. (2008, February 19). Autonomic regulation of the Association Between Exercise and Diabetes. Retrieved from MedScape Today: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/568392

Centers for Disease Control. (1996). Guidelines for School Health Programs to Promote

Lifelong Healthy Eating. 45 (RR-9): 1-33, Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00042446.htm

Johnson, H., & Hill, L. (2011, June). Illegal Immigration. Retrieved from Public Policy Institute of California: http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/atissue/AI_711HJAI.pdf

Hills, A., et.al., eds. (2007). Children, Obesity & Exercise. New York: Routledge.

Lluch, A., et.al. (2000). Dietary intakes, eating style and overweight. International Journal of Obesity. 24 (11): 1493-9.

Los Angeles County Public Health. (2003, July). Obesity on the Rise. Retrieved from L.A. Health: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ha/reports/habriefs/lahealth073003_obes.pdf

Mahar, M. (2006). Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much.

New York: Collins

Nagopurney, A. (2010, December 12). Los Angeles Confronts Homelessness. Retrieved… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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