A Country-Wide Epidemic: Childhood Obesity

PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

My news article: The Effects of Obesity  2. Persona and POV statement Persona: Persona nameAge: School/occupation: Location:   Quote:   About:
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Goals:
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My Persona & POV Statement 

POV Statement:
  • User (be specific and use empathetic language, e.g., Karla, a busy and high achieving high school student…):
  • Need (identifies a need that is meaningful and includes feelings, e.g. …needs a way to feel less stress at school…):
  • Insight (incorporates your observations; often unexpected, …because there is a lot of chaos in her life and she wants to feel more calm, peace, and mindfulness in her day.):

My Persona & POV Statement 

3. Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: Have school sponsored educational focus groups within their children's respective schools that informs parents on what a healthy diet looks like for their children. In addition, to nutrition this educational opportunity can highlight the adverse affects that technology has on our children, while also offering ways to either combat or work around the usage tendencies. Parents are also afforded the ability to collaborate and share ideas that have or have not worked within their own families. 

SOLUTION 2: Melisa can download one of the various apps available through the app store that informs and helps create detailed nutritional shopping carts for her children. This creates a quick and easy way to understand what her child needs and the appropriate amounts, as well as provides her the freedom, flexibility, and convenience she needs being a working mother. 

SOLUTION 3: Lastly, parents must be diligent in signing their kids up for some type of physical activity, whether that is in the form of sports, gymnastics, summer camp, dodge ball or swimming. To help promote this schools can offer newsletters with all physical activities it offers to make it an easy process for adults to pick which to sign their child up for. In addition, communities could do a similar thing.Regardless, there is something out there that the child will like and inherently gravitate towards, but it is up to the parents to have the patience and diligence to find it. This will increase physical activity, while simultaneously decreasing one's time on technology, which would help to combat childhood obesity. 

BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH PROCESS Context

Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(e0nb5nno14i1cquub2qbc0bo))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-400-105d&query=on&highlight=obesity#1

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan: 

This proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan because it is going to encourage parents to become informed on how to properly provide a nutritious diet for their children, which will instill good habits in their children. This will help children and students later on in their life and help to combat obesity rates at an early age. 

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

Initially I thought of my childhood and the diet that I had. I can remember eating Poptarts, Doritos and any other candy you can think of, but luckily I was extremely active at the time, which helped to negate my poor nutrition. This really got me thinking, and ultimately caused me to do some research into the issue, and ultimately motivated me to want to create a proposal about obesity and hopefully help to create some change. 

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

I am currently volunteering at the Bryant Community Center. There I have been tutoring students, and really helping in anyway that I am able to. Unfortunately my service work is not directly related to my proposal, however it was been a great experience nevertheless. I have learned tons, gained a further appreciation for the upbringing that I was fortunate to have, and most importantly have helped others along the way. 

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

My news article: The Effects of Obesity 

Consultations

Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: My Athletic Nutritionist

I essentially just asked her, "if you had to list out a few direct reasons as to why childhood obesity is such an epidemic in this country what would your response be?" She responded by listing three main causes: first, she mentioned that technology and our culture of convenience has changed physical activity and playtime among children for the worse. Secondly, she referenced socioeconomic status and how the disparities among households has a huge impact on educational opportunities, as well as access to nutrient dense foods. Lastly, she mentioned how she believes the bulk of the issue lands on the shoulders of the children's parents. She believes that a lot of parents lack the awareness of what their child should be consuming on a daily basis, while also neglecting the importance of physical activity in a child's routine. 

CONSULTATION 2: Athletic Trainer

For my second consultation I reached out to my sports trainer and asked him to provide his input on the main reasons that childhood obesity exist. In addition, I wanted to hear his personal take on how vital physical activity in combating this epidemic is. He responded stating that "genetics, metabolism, nutrition, exercise or lack thereof, and sleep are among some of the main causes of obesity. He also mentioned that "exercise can be very helpful, especially in today's society where you have schools cutting back on physical education programs due to budget restrictions and the increased dependence on technology. Like my first consultation my trainer also emphasized the importance of educating parents to make them more aware of their child's nutritional and physical needs. 

CONSULTATION 3: In progress

 

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

 

Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

Throughout the semester I have talked to my Athletic trainer, as well as my nutritionist. Additionally, I have talked to “x.” Aside from the conversations I have had I read a number of articles pertaining to obesity. Coming into this topic I possessed a very broad idea of the problem. I always thought the solution was simple: eat less, and eat better, but it turns out that it really is not that simple. In-fact, through my research I learned that obesity could be a result of anything from poor nutrition, bad socioeconomic status, depression, anxiety, low physical activity, too much technological screen time, and the list goes on. My thinking went from very broad and general to focused. I sat down and thought what is the solution that could potentially help to alleviate a lot of these causes of obesity. I instantly thought of the lack of education and awareness of the parents. Children often do not have the power to choose what they eat for dinner, when they eat, and what physical activities, if any they are involved in at an early age. This led me to believe that the root of the problem is not in the child’s control, but more so in the hands of their parent’s, which is why I decided to focus my proposal and legislation around educating them.

Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

FORMAL PROPOSAL

The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS.... A recent study ran by the The New England Journal of Medicine predicted that 57.3% of today's children will be obese by the age of 35 years old. 

WHEREAS.... Nearly 1 in 3 children in Michigan, ages 10-17, are overweight or obese. 

WHEREAS.... Parents lack the foundational knowledge of what a well rounded diet looks like for the children, and as a result the child develops bad eat habits that they carry with them through the remainder of their live's. 

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED....

1. By implementing a mandated state-wide 2-hour nutritional educational session for parents twice a year at each school. The first session would occur within the first six months of the year, and the second occurring in the last six months. 

2. The educational system will be lead by an expert in the nutrition and health field. The primary goal of the session is to inform parents on how they can create a healthy eating environment for their child, while also highlighting the importance of physical activity and technological monitoring. 

3. Parents would then be able to create connections through this, which would ultimately allow them to discuss strategies with others. They would be able to find out what others have done that may have worked or perhaps didn't work, and will be able to implement and test those strategies with their own children. This would create a progressive community that is working towards a common goal: ending childhood obesity. 

4. The second session would be beneficial because parents would have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback by course coordinators, or other parents. 

(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)

Counter-arguments:

What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. Why should we prioritize holding nutritional seminars for parents and having schools fund these ventures when schools are already underfunded and students are lacking educational literacy? 

2. They are kids, they should eat whatever they want and enjoy it because eventually they are going to age and their metabolism's will slow down and that is when they should monitor what they eat. 

3. We live in a day and age where happiness is the most important feeling, so if a happy meal keeps a kid happy, so be it. 

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

So, there are two ways this proposal could be funded. (1) the government utilizes tax revenue in order to front the cost, or (2) the parents could come together and make a very small donation. According to this article an expert nutritionist cost anywhere from $50-$100 per 1 hour session. If we take the average, which is $75 the total cost per school each year would be $150. Assuming that implementation technique two is more feasible and that most schools have more than 150 students this would mean that parents would have to pay less than $1 in-order to take steps in better their knowledge and their child's health. That is a price that I hope no parent would have a problem justifying. I do not foresee anyone objecting, but perhaps parent's that believe the money and resources would be better served increasing the quality of education their child is receiving.

References:

These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.




 

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