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A New Approach To A Healthier Future

1246 words - 5 pages

There is a great deal of fear concerning obesity among Canadians from all walks of life. Despite efforts to curb obesity in Canada, the percent of overweight Canadians is currently on the rise. Such interventions include educating Canadians on healthier eating habits and the importance of regular exercise, but the most prevalent message of all is the promotion of weight loss. This message is particularly dangerous, especially among children and youths. I argue that the Canadian health care system must adopt weight management in the place of weight loss and end the standard use of body mass index (BMI) in order to successfully combat obesity.
Body mass has long been thought to influence health and well-being. Since excessive weight is believed to increase a person’s risk for disease the BMI tool is used to determine standard recommended weight. Medical, government and public health professionals promote the use of this tool, but fail to realize that BMI is an inadequate indicator of health. In the article about the relationship between body size and BMI, the authors comment that the “BMI ignores the major components of weight… and overestimates body fat in people who are very muscular or who have edema” (Shirly, Davis, & Carlson, 2007, p. 330). A person’s body is not composed of fat alone: bone, lean muscle tissue and fluids are other components. Thus, an athlete or body builder is likely to be classified as overweight because his or her body will have more muscle. BMI also fails to capture other complex factors that are specific to the individual. One important factor to note is the body’s weight set-point. The set-point theory suggests that weight is predetermined and is relatively stable for long periods. According to this theory diet and weight loss does not work and often the individual will gain more weight than they started with (Dokken & Tsao, 2007). This is because weight loss is the attempt to manipulate the body’s healthy set-point and significant deviations are met with resistance. I can image the frustrations of these people when health care professionals lack in the understanding of the complex psychological and biological factors driving excess weight. As part of the health care team, nurses must be advocates for overweight patients and realize their sufferings under the health care system.
Health care in Canada is universal, meaning that it is founded on the principle of providing quality health care services to all members of society. It is publicly funded through the collection of taxes and our government leaders commit to maintaining and improving the state of the health care system. This means recognizing ineffective policies and methods in exchange for ones that Canadians will benefit from. Recommendations for change are evidence-based, ethical and must adhere to the five principles outlined in the Canada Health Care Act (CHA). With this in mind, it is easy to see how the standard use of BMI violates the Canada Health...

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