4010-5 Wellness Education Program Proposal
The Healthy New York is an organization that was established in December 2014 in response to the high numbers of unfit people in the city. While the general aim is to improve the health and promote the wellness of the citizens of the city, the specific purpose of the institution is to help the efforts of the management of the city in addressing the obesity challenge in the city. The mission of the organization is to achieve a healthy population through wellness education.
Our organization targets school going children and the vulnerable communities that have a challenge in accessing some of the resources regarding healthy living. In achieving this milestone, the Healthy New York carries out monthly educational seminars on healthy living in schools and in selected community centers. We engage with the leadership of the various religious and tribal organizations to use their resources and influence in obtaining access to the communities and transmit the knowledge about the initiatives that individuals should take to live a healthy life. The organization has since its inception held 60 seminars across the elementary schools and various religious institutions in New York.
This is another citywide campaign dubbed “Let the Walk Begin Now” aimed at educating the city residents of the importance and the initiatives they should observe to reduce the dangers of unhealthy living and in particular obesity.
It has been established that obesity is among the most serious and fast growing health concerns in America and New York City, like other cities in our country, is faced with an obesity crisis. In the 1960s, obesity affected a mere 13% of Americans and the numbers have grown rapidly over the years that in 2008, 34 percent of Americans were obese. Besides, it is the number two cause of preventable death after tobacco killing close to 5,800 people in the city each year. While the adult obesity rate in New York City is ranked the 8th lowest in the country, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, the challenge is still enormous in the city. About 59% of the adult population being either overweight (34%) or obese (25%). Unsurprisingly, the epidemic hits hardest those communities that already suffer from both economic and health disparities, in specific the Latino, Black and the low-income earning families. The rate of overweight and obese individuals in these communities goes as high as 70% in some neighborhoods (Levi, et al., 2015).
The challenge is even worrying among the youth despite the progress that has been made in the recent past. More than 20% of NYC children between the ages 6-11 years are obese and a bigger percentage are overweight and nearing to obesity. While there have been concerted efforts to check this epidemic, there are still risks of reversing the gains made in health and life expectance in the last couple of decades. If the rates of obesity continue to grow, it is highly likely that the children of this generation will live a shorter life than their parents (Levi, et al., 2015).
It is important to note that obesity is not a superficial challenge. It is well documented that endemic obesity has led to unprecedented increase in the prevalence of diabetes with consequential results of hypertension, blindness and in some cases amputations (Ogden et al., 2012).
As it has already been mentioned, the effects obesity and the resulting consequences strike the residents of New York unequally. It has been established that the residents of East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant are up to four times more likely to die of diabetes compared to those of Upper East Side. New Yorkers of black origin, on one hand, are three times likely to die of diabetes as whites. The Hispanics, on the other hand, are twice as likely to die from the same disease as the whites. Besides, the epidemic is also common among people with some sort of mental illness (Levi, et al., 2012).
Finally, the costs incurred by the society and the government and the city are massive. It is estimated that over the last decade, the government spends between $150 billion and $210 billion each year in direct medical cost. Besides, job absenteeism associated with obesity costs $ 4.3 billion per year in addition to low productivity at work results in a $506 loss to employers per obese employee each year (Cawley, & Meyerhoefer, 2012).
The above reasons have given us the challenge to undertake this auspicious project to help educate the populations, especially those most vulnerable to reduce the levels of obesity to help the management of the city in its bid to achieve fitness and healthy living. Besides, the benefits will be felt by the citizens themselves who will spend less for medication.
Referring to a study done by The New York Academy of Medicine and TFAH in 2008, if a $10 investment is done to an individual in verified community-based programs that can increase bodily activity, advance nourishment, stop smoking and other uses of tobacco, the country would be saved of some $16 billion annually in five years. That indicates that for every $1 invested, a return of $5.6 is realized. Besides, expansion of the prevention programs would tell the most appropriate strategic private and public investments that yield the most effective results (Ogden et al., 2012).
The general objective of this project is to achieve a healthier city through creating awareness of the risks associated with unhealthy living habits as well as the costs of obesity to the individuals, families, communities and the city at large.
Our focus on prevention of diseases is anchored on the findings of economic benefits associated with undertaking this initiative. Over the last decade, the spending of the US government has been rising at a rate of close to seven percent each year. Estimations point that the spending on health will hit the $4.3 trillion in 2017 up from the $2.1trillion that was used in 2006. However, the US gets suboptimal health results which are indicative of the poor value for health care money. Available evidence suggests that investments in prevention strategies yield value for health care dollars in addition to increased productivity. It has been established that a higher impact of benefits is achieved when the implementation of prevention is done at the earliest chance. Besides, primary prevention averts the onset of illnesses which avoids or delays the costs related to treatment or lost function. Such efforts include immunization which stalls the transmission of infectious diseases. Other efforts, like the one we are undertaking, focus on risk-reduction which includes services like individualized interventions, community engagements and others. Prevention at an individual level includes making choices to live a healthy life achieved through education on fitness and wellness.
Specifically, the project will focus to achieve the following goals:
- Teach through seminars and practical session at least five thousand people from the most vulnerable categories the importance of healthy living.
- Hold seminars and practical sessions in 20 elementary schools across the city especially those have the most affected students population
- Recruit at least 500 people in the program to be ambassadors of healthy living to reduce the obesity epidemic 5 percentage points in five years
- To train the heads of institutions and the teachers concerned of the appropriate fitness and wellness programs that can help the students avoid the risks of overweight and obesity
- Individuals to accept personal responsibility for their wellness and fitness
Procedures/Scope of Work
After a thorough training of our staff, who shall be the trainers in this project, we have a better understanding of the considerations required to achieve a successful program. In addition to nutritional and educational factors, we realized that other issues like the ethical, legal environmental considerations are necessary for achieving a holistic campaign (Chriqui, 2013). The program shall enhance the ObamaCare law that seeks to offer affordable healthcare to all Americans. The efforts of the Affordable Care Act to provide comprehensive health care reform, does among other things, provide health insurance to vulnerable communities (Levi, et al., 2015). Indeed, many of the deaths in NYC are as result of preventable diseases, but since most of the patients lack the basic healthcare, they succumb to these illnesses. Prior to the signing of this law, 16% of New Yorkers were uninsured, with the majority being Hispanics and young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 years. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 along with the ACA created incentive programs to be run on the Medicare and Medicaid. This has enabled many New Yorkers to benefit from the Primary care Information Project (PCIP) which is enabled by the two Acts. About 76% of the sick enrolled in the PCIP program had their BMI calculated in 2010.
Besides, the city has created a number of regulations that ensure the residents stay health. Such policies include provision of tap water to encourage people to drink more water as compared to the more sugary fluids. The active design policy that ensures people are more engaged and walk more in addition to provision of bicycling streets to ensure people stay active and reduce the risks of being overweight and obese (Levi, et al., 2015).
For schools, the program will make use of the existing PE time allocated to train the teachers and promote The Health New York program where there will be monthly supervision with the PE teachers and sessions for the teachers to share experiences of the program. The lessons learned and strategies to improve the program are shared in these sessions. The schools shall be advised to hold 3 curriculum days every year.
In this program, the students shall take personal responsibility for their health and fitness. This is achieved by teaching them to understand that physical activity can help health wise and even in scholastic performance (Sturm, & Hattori, 2013).
For both adolescents and adults, it is necessary that they are taught and internalize the holistic approach to health and fitness where the body is connected to the mind. They need to know why an inactive lifestyle is a major cause for chronic illnesses, how the type of food they consume will determine their health, how to set goals, create and execute a personal wellness plan. Finally, the participants will be empowered with skills to help them make affirmative lifestyle alterations (Chriqui, 2013). As this is a community engagement, experts on nutrition, health and wellness will be brought to speak on the subjects that enhance The Healthy New York values and principles. In particular, we will source for the services of a cardiologist, hospital nutritionist, pulmonologist, physician, health food store of************
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