Childhood obesity is a prevalent problem in many countries globally. However, many individuals have taken the initiative to overcome this epidemic and incorporated advocacy, collaborative leadership, and social participation. The Social Change Model of Leadership opines that leadership as a determined, concerted, and values-based procedure that results in pleasant social change. The model was established upon various presumptions. First, the model assumes that leadership is socially responsible and it affects change on behalf of others. For example, the San Diego Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative has executed Safe Routes to School and Farm-to-School programs that have aided to pass healthy beverage policies for school campuses, in turn reducing obesity rates significantly (Christens 2016).
Second, the model assumes that leadership is collaborative shown by a recent example of the Communities Creating Healthy Environments initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that implements systemic changes related to obesity prevention (Christens 2016). Third, the model assumed that leadership is a process and not a position. Additionally, the model assumes that leadership is comprehensive and accessible to all individuals as evidenced by the Southwest Organizing Project in Albuquerque, New Mexico that focuses on building leadership in low-income communities, particularly, the Hispanic and American Indian cultures, and youths (Christens 2016). The project further shows that leadership is values-based as it has applied a food justice lens in its activities towards obesity prevention and has converted vacant city properties into community gardens and changed school lunches to include healthy foods. Finally, the model assumes that the involvement of the community is a strong vehicle for leadership. The Model views leadership through three prospects, namely, the individual, the group, and the society.
Childhood obesity is rapidly growing and its effects of health problems getting out of hand in spite of measures taken by governmental bodies and by public health advocates. One can link this worsening situation to multiple factors, but the lack of leadership in certain areas of government plays a significant role. In particular, a study by World Health Organization (WHO) done in 2009 gave importance on population-based prevention policy and leadership of various stakeholders, including all levels of government, to control childhood obesity. Additionally, the research suggested for a wide range of community participation so that government measures could be applied efficiently. However, such effort did not sire the desired impact as shown by the failure of the Healthy People initiative supported by the U.S government.
National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) described childhood obesity as a national public health priority. Further, it gives regard to broad-based prevention policy such as WHO, asserting that the federal administration should take a leadership role in the prevention of childhood obesity. Moreover, only government has the authority and access to focus on community demands, which need the participation of county, city, or town officials. NCBI endorses nutritional and physical activity initiatives, nutritional assistance strategies, agricultural projects, and high taxation on particular food and beverages to curb the increasing childhood obesity. Nevertheless, despite the existence of the public health priority, there is no efficient structure for childhood obesity prevention. Additionally, numerous programs lack an interpersonal skill (leadership) role in the control of obesity, which attributes failure to mitigate childhood obesity to lack of leadership in certain areas of government.
Christens, B., Inzeo, P.T., Meinen, A., Hilgendorf, A.E., Berns, R., Korth, A., Pollard, E., McCall, A., Adams, A. and Stedman, J., 2016. Community-Led Collaborative Action to Prevent Obesity. WMJ, 115(5), pp.259-263.
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