Obesity and Disease in an Interconnected World: A Systems Approach to Turn Huge Challenges into Amazing Opportunities

Life-Course Approach to Obesity Management: The Role of Family and Environment

Author(s): Denise C. Tahara

Pp: 369-394 (26)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681080369115010024


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.

Keywords: 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 thinking, wellness.

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