Caring for a Population: Obesity

Introduction and Background
We usually think of pandemics as serious diseases that have the potential to hurt thousands if not millions of people through disease. Ironically, a 21st century pandemic is that many in the developed world, through a combination of a sedentary lifestyle, a high-fat diet, and sugary drinks, become obese to the point in which it having a serious negative effect on their health. There is no disagreement in the literature about the link between our overall health concerns and what we eat and drink. Billboards, television, movies and the Internet all sell us a combination of fast and quick foods and diet aids (Fumento, 1998).
On June 22, 2010, President Obama issued an Executive Order to promote fitness in the schools and workplace and has proclaimed May as “National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.” The Executive Order states a presidential request that “Americans work toward meeting the National Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans as set by the Department of Health and Human Services.” By implementing Healthy Employees Initiative Program (HEIP) within our organization we can provide our employees an incentive to join with other Americans to participate in healthy physical activity, fitness, sports participation, and good nutrition (Obama, 2010).
Studies from such diverse groups as the Rand Corporation, the National Institute of Health, the National Institute on Aging, and the New England Journal of Medicine have all come to the same conclusion – we are not a healthy nation. Indeed, it is alarming to note that the trend toward obesity has exponentially risen in every single region of the United States since 1991, as reported by the “Get America Fit Foundation” (Obesity Related Statistics in America, 2008). This is a national trend, better or worse in some states and counties. In Santa Barbara County, California, for instance, more than half of all adults are clinically obese; likely do to more than four times as many unhealthy...