Prevention of Overweight and Obesity among Children and Youth in Local Government Health Policy Programs in between 2009-2015
Pediatrics & Therapeutics
Overweight and obesity are among the so-called epidemics of the 21 st century. An increasing number of children and youth are also affected by them. According to the forecasts of the "Institute of Mother and Child", over the next decade each year the number of overweight children will increase by 400 thousand, including approximately 80 thousand obese children. Overweight and obesity are particularly dangerous for children at preschool and school age as it increases the risk of numerous
... as well as physical and emotional problems. Objective: The objective of this article is to present implementation of health policy programs concerning prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity among children and youth between 2009-2015 by local government units. Methods: The study was conducted based on desk research. Databases of the Ministry of Health prepared by each voivodeship containing information about implemented health policy programs with regards to overweight and obesity among children and youth were used. Results: Between 2009-2015, local government units at all levels implemented 215 health policy programs concerning overweight and obesity among children and youth. Most programs were implemented by municipalities and counties. The costs incurred by counties and voivodeships were significantly higher than costs incurred by municipalities. Most programs were implemented in the West Pomeranian, Silesian and Masovian Voivodeships. The most common activities included consultations with a dietician, group trainings for children within school classes and various competitions concerning healthy diet and physical activity. The Podlaskie and Świętokrzyskie Voivodeships implemented the smallest number of programs. Conclusion: Programs implemented by local government units were poorly adjusted to the actual health needs of children and youth in terms of prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity. Local government units indicated insufficient engagement in prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity among children and youth. Programs implemented by local government units is have not any casual relationship on obesity prevalence. An insufficient number of program participants were observed. It demonstrates the need to evaluate the activities aimed at fighting overweight and obesity among children and youth. The number of health policy programs should be increased and the forms of program implementation should be more attractive-this will allow more people to be included in the activities.