Advocating in the Community:
As health care providers we know full well the barriers our patients and their families face. Often there is a lack of time, lack of access to healthy foods, the high costs of healthy foods, lack of culturally appropriate community programs and resources, and decreased opportunities for safe physical activity opportunities, all of which make it difficult to grow up healthy. Our voice becomes their voice in the community. To become an advocate in the community, it is important to:
• Be a role model by being physically active every day and work to make healthy food choices.
• Integrate Nebraska’s Clinical Childhood Obesity Model, Foster Healthy Weight in Youth into practice.
• Work within your circle of connection- your child’s school, family’s faith group, neighborhood association, and community-based organizations to advocate for increased physical activity, healthier food options, to increase awareness about the childhood obesity epidemic, and to educate children, families and the community about the consistent prevention messages.
• Join your local coalition. Communities across Nebraska have local initiatives working to find solutions for the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.
Childhood Obesity is a national priority. According to the Trust for America's Health 2009 Children's Health Survey, Nebraska ranks as having the 21st highest percentage of obese and overweight children, at 31.5%.
As a healthcare professional, your voice is the voice of your patients in the community. We must advocate on all levels to improve the health of Nebraska's children by advocating for access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities. In practice, in the community, and on statewide, and federal levels, as a healthcare professional, you can become an advocate.
Check out the AAP's obesity prevention website and click on their policy opportunities tool to learn about specific advocacy strategies.