How a Law becomes a Bill
One of the issues that nurses have brought on board is childhood obesity which is a significant problem as it puts kids at risk for poor health. This so because the prevalence of obesity has remained stable affecting about 12.7 million children and the adolescents as well. Despite the marked decrease of the obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years reducing markedly from 13.9% in 200-2004 to 9.4% in 2013-2014, the numbers are still high(Ogden et al., 2015). The concern emanates from the basis that obesogenic surroundings have increased from the consumption high caloric foods with very low nutritional value to the children as well as reduction of the physical activities among these children.
Besides the population burden to the American population, obese children and teenagers present a greater risk of developing chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. All these are attributed to the poor lifestyles that children are brought up to such as eating fast foods that are less nutritious. The environments are also not favorable for healthy living among the children. There lack playgrounds for physical activity among the children both in their home apartments as well as in their institutions of their learning.
The recognition of the need for healthy leaving among the children has led to a number of nurses, and other public health providers have seen the significance of the use of laws and legal authorities to avert the obesity epidemic among children (Gostin, & Wiley, 2016). These health policies are directed at averting the dieting programs in schools to constitute healthy foods as well as influencing farmers to produce nutritious foods through teaching farmers. Besides, the policies are supposed to provide a requirement in the surrounding with playgrounds for children to do their exercises. Ball these have seen nurses being the forefront in leading the advocacy influencing the legislative process and public health policies that affect the structure of health care which eventually affect the children in their healthy living.
In most cases, nurses as healthcare providers have always shunned and kept off the political arena with claims of being an area meant for the politicians. It, however, dawns on them that all the healthcare policies and laws are made by these politicians who however may not understand the healthcare sector. This makes the nurses to take a step higher to engage in politics which is a strange issue among many nurses. For nurses to influence the healthcare structure, they can do this through three critical means. This can be via lobbying where they can join other lobbyists to push for their agenda in the legislative process. They can also use experts such as lawyers are familiar with the various legislative process and who can act on their behalf (Zander, 2015). The nurses can also make the change of law a public health concern by informing the communities and their members on the issue. In the long haul, the matter acts to be a crisis that needs to be ventured hence legislators are forced to look into the matter.
There have been related laws that were enacted in 2015 aiming at childhood obesity prevention which was passed yet there is a need for more modification of the bill to allow comprehensive coverage of the health determinants among children and the adolescents. Despite the bills being made to affect the safe roads that can be used for sports and nutritional education, the bills labeling unhealthy foods and needs on playgrounds have been defeated in the legislative processes.
The recommendation goes beyond the already existing laws that revolve around health information and safety of highways for sporting activities which have reduced but not significantly enough to avert the obesity epidemic among the children and the adolescents. There is need to enact a policy requiring allocation of an open field for sporting activities for the children (Eyler et al., 2016). For areas where this may not be possible, gymnasium centers have to be placed for exercise activities. The school policies have to be strict in implementing the physical education lesions as well as honoring the games time for the children.
Besides the physical activity related policies, there is need to change the food production policies to incorporate subsidizing of food production together with the offering of farm teaching to the farmers on growing or healthy nutritious foods. The farm inputs need to be provided by the government to ensure the healthy foods are produced to serve the entire population to achieve their nutritional needs. Also, the policy needs to control the supply and buying of processed foods that are unhealthy not only to children but also to the entire population. This can be done by enacting a bill that dwells on increased taxation and labeling of these unhealthy foods.
With the existence of various health concerns which have either oversight in terms of policy or law enactment or implementation, it turns to be the nurse’s role to come up to lobby for their enactment since they can understand the health issues. In doing this, they have to understand the legislative processes involved to allow them to push for their health agenda to the legislators to allow it to be passed.
Eyler, A. A., Budd, E., Camberos, G. J., Yan, Y., &Brownson, R. C. (2016). State legislation
related to increasing physical activity: 2006–2012. Journal of Physical Activity and
Health, 13(2), 207-213.
Gostin, L. O., & Wiley, L. F. (2016). Public health law: power, duty, restraint. Univ of California
Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B. K., &Flegal, K. M. (2014). Prevalence of childhood and
adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Jama, 311(8), 806-814.
Zander, M. (2015). The law-making process. Bloomsbury Publishing.