Policy Perspective of Childhood Obesity Essay

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Childhood obesity has reared itself as a hot-button issue in the United States – perhaps among them most salient public health challenges of our generation. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years (CDC), and in only rare exceptions does the evidence point to any foreseeable decline in such an aggressive trend. In terms of policy perspective, childhood obesity features three important characteristics of worthwhile analysis – market failure, government failure, and tangible cost-benefit calculations for various alternatives of addressing the problem. Market failures abound in public health and specifically childhood obesity, first and foremost with the…show more content…
In the spirit of the Weimar & Vining rational policymaking comparison model, we present four alternatives for appropriate policy intervention to stem the tide and ultimately reverse the alarmingly aggressive trend towards an obese, unhealthy younger generation. Each alternative is considered in light of the four values presented by Weimar & Vining as well as Rossell – efficiency, equity, and political feasibility (Weimar & Vining, Chapter 1). The three alternatives presented in this analysis to combat childhood obesity is the expansion of SCHIP (arguably the status quo given recent reforms), BMI screening/reporting in public schools, the combination of nutritional lunch and health education efforts in schools.

Insurance Coverage/Expansion of SCHIP

In the multi-faceted, private-public, uncoordinated landscape that characterizes the U.S. healthcare system, no population demographic has fared better in their health safety net (except elders) than low-income children with the creation and perpetual expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The theory behind universal coverage for children is a moral one, but it also applies as a public health policy option for issues like obesity that carry specific risk factors for children. With insurance a reality for
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