Evidence-based research in health policy making

Evidence-based research in health policy making




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Evidence-based research in health policy making

It is not brainer that research and healthy policy should go hand in hand because there is a very clear connection that exists between the two. Research is not rigorous and straightforward and can help in not only shaping short-term change but long term progress. This obvious connection has not been appreciated by all due competing interests and contrasting priorities have frustrated efforts of translating research into actionable policy. Policy makers it seems operate with a different mindsets because to them whatever health polices they formulate are influenced by a couple of factors that range from political, socio-economic among others and not merely the latest research literature. One of the health issues where research can play a big role in intervention measures include childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity in of the greatest health crises of the 21st century especially in the developed world. According to WHO (2012) it is one of the most pressing health challenges of the century and something needs to be done about it. It isn’t easy to define the what an obese person is but perhaps the safest way to do it without offending anyone is the use of the BMI in that anyone whose BMI is greater than 25 is in great danger of the health risks including death that are associated with obesity.

According to Chan &Woo (2010) there are multiple factors that are associated with obesity and they include diet, biological, cultural and social environments and often the consequences are even greater. On the issue of diet as a casual factor for obesity it is important to understand the amount of energy intake should be similar. There has been a marked increase about the amount of food portions that are being served and this increase in consumption of food without proper exercise eventually leads to obesity.

Ethnic background plays a big role in determining if one can become obese or not for instance in New Zealand children of Maori origin are more likely to become obese compared to those of European origin (Ministry of health, 2012).That children who come from poor backgrounds are also more likely to develop obesity than their friends from relatively affluent backgrounds. Lack of physical exercise is another factor that determines if children can develop obesity or not. The explosion of the technology has come with great effect to people’s loves because with TV, cell phones and computer games people are living more sedentary lives and the amount of physical exercise has greatly reduced.

Childhood obesity can lead to a number of problems that if not checked might get out of hand such as type 2 diabetes, blood clotting and other cardiovascular diseases. The solution to this health crisis just simple to eat less and exercise more but with the projected increase in childhood diabetes it is a clear indication that not much or enough is being done to rectify the situation by policy makers. Policy makers might want to consider the following evidence-based interventions and preventions measures:

Some of the research based intervention efforts can include home-based childhood obesity prevention studies (Showell et al., 2013).Efforts should be taken at home by parent to reduce the intake of sugar and high fat foods and increase the amount the of vegetables and fruits that are consumed by children as a way of tackling obesity. Another important step that can be taken to reduce obesity is the promotion of physical exercise by children, this might mean limiting their TV time so that they can play outside to exercise their bodies. Though this on it’s on is not enough to tackle childhood obesity.

According to Verstraeten et al.,(2012) another great strategy is school –based intervention programs that have been tried in middle-income countries. This intervention programs comprise of new one and the ones that are already in operation school such as group counseling sessions, increase of physical exercises, and introduction of breakfast. This intervention also led to behavior change such as reduction to in intake of sugars and fats. Integration of the intervention strategies into the normal school program is key in solving the problem of childhood obesity.

Another intervention t strategy that was researched by Monasta et al.,(20110 is tackling obesity and overweight in in preschool children. In this study they analyzed a couple of interventions that included the promotion of breastfeeding, physical activity sessions, counseling sessions and support for both parents and caregivers that are aimed at teaching them how to feed their children and what amounts of each food a child needs to live a healthy life.

In another study done by Waters et al.,(2012) on intervention measures to prevent obesity in children. Some interventions and preventive measures were done for in school, Out of school and all children that are likely to suffer from obesity and the following interventions were put forward. They were varied according to the children that were targeted and they comprised of diet modification, increased play time, and reduced screen time. Support and training for teachers to promote health promotion activities. There is need for more physical activities in schools and a more balance diet and the development of a culture that supports healthful living

In conclusion, it is clear that much more needs to be done about the childhood obesity because it is a serious crisis that if not tackled may lead to serious health problems and there is need to use evidence-based research is formulating polices in tackling this issue.


Chan, R. S., & Woo, J. (2010). Prevention of overweight and obesity: how effective is the current

public health approach. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 7(3), 765-783.

Ministry of Health. (2012). The Health of New Zealand Children 2011/12: Key findings of the

New Zealand Health Survey. Wellington, http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/health-new-zealand-children-2011-12.

Showell, N. N., Fawole, O., Segal, J., Wilson, R. F., Cheskin, L. J., Bleich, S. N., et al. (2013). A

systematic review of home-based childhood obesity prevention studies. Pediatrics, 132(1),


Verstraeten, R., Roberfroid, D., Lachat, C., Leroy, J. L., Holdsworth, M., Maes, L., et al. (2012).

Effectiveness of preventive school-based obesity interventions in low- and middle-income

countries: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr, 96(2), 415-438.

World Health Organization. (2010). Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010.

Geneva, Switzerland, http://www.who.int/nmh/publications/ncd_report_full_en.pdf.

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