Life-Course Approach to Obesity Management: The Role of Family and Environment
Pp. 369-394 (26)
Denise C. Tahara
Pediatric obesity is a significant public health concern. It is also, to some
degree, designed into lifestyles that encourage sedentary behaviors and convenience.
Our children move their fingers and their ideas across networks connected by electronic
webs. Their social meet ups are often online and their friends are on Facebook rather
than waiting on the field. E-culture is here and so are its consequences for children's
well-being. The design of our healthcare system will need to adapt to the changing
conditions of our world and help children re-design their behaviors to encourage healthy
choices. Communities need to be engaged in developing environments to reinforce
well-being. To address this significant public health issue, a systems approach to
analysis and improvement is required. The first step is to understand the existing
delivery system by documenting the patient’s experience, identifying environmental,
social, and economic barriers and challenges to engaging them in their care and wellbeing.
This should also include identifying lifestyle and infrastructure failures and
leveraging opportunities to reinforce healthy choices and coordinated care. Every
patient interaction should be viewed as an opportunity to improve health and wellbeing.
New models of care will require that physicians take a proactive approach to
managing patients’ health and wellness, collaboratively. Values, preferences, and
beliefs should be considered in designing strategic health treatment plans that will
engage and empower patients and their families; taking a life-course approach to care.
Coordinated and collaborative care, e-culture, global health, lifecourse
approach, nutrition, obesity, overweight, patient accountability, patient
centeredness, patient engagement, public health, risk, strategic design, systems
Department of Health Policy & Management, New York Medical College School of Health Sciences and Practice, Valhalla, NY 10530, USA.