Developing an Advocacy Campaign :Obesity

Developing an Advocacy Campaign

Introduction
Obesity is one of the major public health challenges not only in the United States but also
in most developed countries. The prevalence of obesity has increased due to the increased
consumption of calorie-rich foods as well as a decrease of daily physical activity. Consequently,
public health practitioners and policymakers have been compelled to come up with best practices
and have the competencies to use legal agencies and laws to control the epidemic of obesity. For
instance, regulations and statutes at the state and the federal level have been instituted to promote
nutritional choices, encourage physical activity, access to healthy foods, and enlighten
consumers about adopting healthy lifestyles (Imes & Burke, 2014). Therefore, it is important to
note that the law plays a crucial role of controlling most chronic disorders such as obesity as well
as the behaviors associated with these conditions. This paper will shed light on how the advocacy
campaign for obesity control can be enacted by creation of new legislation and elaborate how
existing laws can affect the advocacy.
Question 1: How proposed policy could be enacted
Food Labelling Act
One of the ways of implementing the policy is through the use food labelling guides. This
can be done by the aid of the Food and Drug Administrative (FDA) which is charged with the
responsibility of ascertaining that foods sold in the United States are wholesome, safe, and
properly labelled. The FDA will pass a regulation of ensuring all foods produced locally as well
as those imported have food labels that indicate content claims as well as certain health messages
for consumers to comply with specific requirements. FDA should also liaise with research
institutes so that they can determine the recommended calories that are required in most snacks

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that the public takes. They will then report their findings to the manufacturers informing them
about what they should include in the snacks and legal consequences that will befall any
manufacturing company that does not heed to the regulation.
Calorie labeling on restaurant menus
Legislations should also be enacted requiring restaurant menus and vending machines to
be labelled properly to help consumers make informed healthy decisions regarding their meals or
snacks. Studies by Swartz, Braxton & Viera, (2011) indicate that most individuals take
approximately a third of their calories away from home.
Efforts to increase financing and access for fresh fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables have been classified as important sources of essential nutrients such
as vitamin, potassium, fiber, folate, and other vital phytochemicals. Policy makers should
therefore design strategies aimed at increasing the access to quality fruits and vegetables. The
strategies will ensure that the fruits are either fresh, canned or dried but must maintain a
particular level of healthfulness.
Education
Policymakers should also come up with a legislation that ensures that all schools have
lessons that teach the students about diet and its consequences when not adhered to. Moreover,
they should compel the ministry of education to use advertisements in popular TV stations or set
up billboards about obesity and how to avoid it.
Question 2: How existing laws or regulations could affect the advocacy efforts
Most of the existing laws will facilitate successful implementation of the advocacy
campaign. One such regulation is the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators of 2010
(Fana, Martinez & Burgos, 2010). This law points out that obesity has a detrimental impact on

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the economy of the country. This is because it causes discrimination, less productivity, and high
mortality. The income generated annually thereby decreases. Therefore, both the enactment and
advocacy work towards minimizing obesity.
The Let’s Move Campaign of 2010 started by the White House is another legislation that
will really promote management of childhood obesity (Wojcicki & Heyman, 2010). The
initiative enlightens the public about healthy choices, importance of physical activity, and access
to affordable quality foods. All these objectives are in line with those that I intend to achieve
through my advocacy plan.
Question 3

Legislators and policy makers are integral to implementation of the advocacy campaign
against obesity. In order to successfully achieve this advocacy campaign against obesity, I should
reach out to legislators as well as their allies and constituents who are able to influence their
opinion on this important policy change. Legislators who are sympathetic to the advocacy
campaign policy against obesity and are willing to collaborate with advocates can assist expand
the network of support through recommendations, visits and calls. Identification of opinion
makers and interaction with them is also vital as any dissenting voices can be persuaded to
support the policy legislation process. The methods used to persuade legislators and policy
makers include organizing for public hearings and discussions. These public hearings are formal
ways of working closely and persuading members of the legislature to support the policy because
of the participation of various stake holders and constituents. Open and substantive discussions
are persuasive and usually have the jurisdiction and power to address the substance of the policy
at hand. I can benefit from public discussions as an advocate because it encompasses the
supportive opinions of all those involved as well as taking into account the dissenting opinions of

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critics with an aim of improving the policy. Public forums organized for presentations on the
policy also can influence legislators to support the policy because of their ability to provide
intimate details on the pros of the policy to the legislators (Zetter, 2014). Additionally, I can hold
individual briefings and meetings with the legislators and policy makers. These briefings are
designed to present an analysis of the facts of the proposed obesity policy. Meetings and
briefings can also help persuade legislators by providing details of the policy in person and one
on one discussion that are friendly. Telephone phone calls and letters can also be used as
effective tools to influence legislators. They are designed to clearly articulate the objectives of
the policy and acknowledge the legislator’s influence on the policy. The three legged lobbying
which includes relationship, money, and public opinion can be used in persuading lawmakers.
The public has an opinion about all aspects of policy change hence with the rise of Political
Action Committees there is an aided effort that provides money for lobbying advocates to shape
public opinion and hence influence the decision making of the legislators. The three legged can
assist in the lobbying process because clamor for public attention by legislatures make the public
bombard them with policy information hence persuading them for support.

Question 4: Obstacles

During the legislative process political factors as well as the structure of the
parliamentary house can be an obstacle to the successful passage of the policy bill (Dodsonet al.,
2013). Sometimes, political pressure due to hard-line party positions may prevent liberal minded
legislators from supporting the bill. Any policy change is destines to fail without the necessary
support. The legislature is a political house where resistance to certain policies will always arise.
The policy change may also involve the tedious effort of changing the constitution as well as

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conflicting state laws hence making the process slow and tedious. To overcome this obstacle,
good will and transparency with enhanced persuasion is necessary. Many at times, the
government and advocates of the policy apply to address the members directly to persuade them
otherwise. Additionally, incentives can be provided by advocates such as offering legislators
positions in influential committees where they can shape opinion.

Big issue policy reform such as advocacy campaign on obesity is bound to attract a
number of opinions and many voices that may confuse the need for policy reform.
Schnakenberg, (2017) point out that all organizations, leading figures, and government officials
will want to influence the process for personal and financial gains. Transparency and ethical
issues where legislators demand for bribes and kickbacks can derail the process making the
process non-objective. To overcome this there should be a transparent process where offenders
and bribe-demanding legislators are investigated, charged and apprehended to serve as an
example.

Conclusion

Indeed, obesity is a challenging public health problem. Therefore, developing a policy
campaign through creation of new legislations in parliament can help reduce obesity in the
society. The introduction and implementation of this policy against obesity has broadened the
public health strategies concerning obesity. The legislation has greatly impacted the public health
policy by various entities hence reduction in the number of people affected by this medical
condition. These new legislative reforms involve a collective effort of persuading legislators to
support the policy change.

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References

Dodson, E. A., Stamatakis, K. A., Chalifour, S., Haire-Joshu, D., McBride, T., & Brownson, R.
C. (2013). State legislators’ work on public health-related issues: what influences
priorities?. Journal of public health management and practice: JPHMP, 19(1), 25.
Fana, C., Martinez, I., & Burgos, E. (2010). Hispanic Obesity: An American Crisis. National
Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators: 2010 Policy Brief.
Imes, C. C., & Burke, L. E. (2014). The obesity epidemic: the USA as a cautionary tale for the
rest of the world. Current epidemiology reports, 1(2), 82-88.
Schnakenberg, K. E. (2017). Informational lobbying and legislative voting. American Journal of
Political Science, 61(1), 129-145.
Swartz, J. J., Braxton, D., & Viera, A. J. (2011). Calorie menu labeling on quick-service
restaurant menus: an updated systematic review of the literature. International Journal of
Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 8(1), 135.
Wojcicki, J. M., & Heyman, M. B. (2010). Let’s move—childhood obesity prevention from
pregnancy and infancy onward. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(16), 1457-1459.
Zetter, L. (2014). Lobbying 3e: The art of political persuasion. Harriman House Limited.

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