Obesity is mostly as a result of unhealthy eating habits that result in consumption of excess sugar and fats. The biggest contributor to these foods is the food manufacturing industry. Obesity is a condition that develops with time. In children it starts as overweight and progresses to obesity either during the adolescence stage or later as adults. The food served in public restaurants and cafeterias also does not offer the customers options to healthy foods. The nursing fraternity is limited both financially and in terms of their ability to influence the legislature to implement changes to existent laws or introduce new regulations.
Proposed Amendments and Introduction of New Regulations
The proposed changes apply to both introduction of new laws and amendments of existent regulations. The law on advertisements made to children, adolescents and their parents states, “Claims in advertisements must be truthful, cannot be deceptive or unfair, and must be evidence-based,” (FTS, 2017, p. 1 para 1).The law is vague in its description of the evidence required of the manufacturers. The junk foods manufacturing companies correctly display the fat and sugar content in their foods and during advertisements call these foods healthy. This advertisement is contradictory of the effects the manufactured foods and drinks have to the body. This constitutes to misbranded products, hence the law on branding needs to be specific, “If a claim is made in the label of labeling of the food which expressly or by implication characterizes the level of any nutrient or the relationship to a disease or health-related condition,” (NDSU, 2015, p. 1).
Similarly, the law in recommending testing of foods and drinks is vague because the levels of sugar and fats in the manufactured foods is high. Though the manufactured products display the ingredients and their nutritional levels on the packaging, there is need to introduce a law that reduces the amounts of sugar and fats in the products; especially because they are mostly in high percentages. To effectively reach out to their customers (the children), the advertisers target children shows to advertise. The law allowing freedom of media and advertisement does not limit the hours and content as long it is censored. Hence, the law requires to introduce a clause or regulation that will limit the advertisements with respect to the age limits related to the shows. This is to reduce the advertisements targeted to children aged between 6-12 years. Public eateries such as restaurants and cafeterias need to be sensitive in their menus. The proposal is the introduction of menus that allow customers to choose from healthy foods.
Anticipated Challenges from Existent Laws
The already existent laws will undoubtedly pose challenges in the implementation of the proposed regulations. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enacted a law that allows the restaurant owners to determine the nutritional value of food; “Establish circumstances under which particular nutrient and health claims may be made about food,” (Kalay, Fry, Ackerman, & Chen, 2012, p. 13). This law creates a contradiction because if the proposed law on healthy foods recommended in the proposed policy takes effect, then the restaurant owners will not be at will to decide the healthy foods. In enforcing the policy on recommended healthy foods menus and advertisements of healthy foods, the law that states “the commission may consider established public policies as evidenced withal other evidence,” will ensure its practicality. This law empowers the FDA to decide the healthy foods and the nutritional recommendations of the advertised foods.
To implement the advocated policies, the legislators and other stakeholders will need to be convinced on the viability and necessity of the regulations. The lobbying process will be done in three stages (Lanier, 2014);
- Purse Strings- under this stage the American Nursing Association (ANA) will identify with the nurses and persuade them to join various nursing commissions. Then the ANA will request the nurses to contribute financially towards funding of the advocacy of the policies. Because of the high costs of campaigns in passing new and amendments to existent bills, the policies will be taken through the House of Representatives because it is cheaper.
- People lobbying- at this stage, the highly influential people towards the implementation of the policy are identified. Further, the ANA befriends them through the identified lobbyists. Also, at this level the nurses are acquainted to the processes involved, the presentation methods the influence they have in physically representing their ideas. To effectively implore to the emotional and social reasoning of the legislators, letters from victims will be delivered to the committees. Posting the obesity-related diseases and what is required to reduce its prevalence on social media will be used to increase the pressure in the House of Representatives and the committees to adopt the policy.
- Political lobbying- at this stage, the policy is analyzed for its implications and views from other stakeholders. Because the House represents people from different backgrounds, the policy development will incorporate interviews and testimonials from the public. The interviews will be presented before the committees and the House to persuade the members in realizing the extent of the health condition.
The main obstacles in the implementation of the policy will be from the marketing firms and the regulations already in place. The public letters and amendments to the existent laws will mitigate this deterrent. Funds are a challenge in the campaign for the new policy advocacy. If the money raised by the ANA is not enough, then the commission will seek for funds from the public. The amendments will introduce new regulations that the legislators might be against, but the presentations will implore to ethics through the personal letters.
FTS. (2017). Advertising and Marketing Basics. Federal Trade Commission, 1(1), 1. Retrieved from https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/advertising-and-marketing
Kalay, H. N., Fry, C., Ackerman, A., & Chen, L. (2012). Putting Health on the Menu (1 ed.). Chicago: National Policy and Legal Analysis Network.
Lanier, J. K. (2014). Government Response: Legislation. In J. A. Milstead, & J. Goldberg (Ed.), Health Policy and Politics (Fifth ed., pp. 69-98). Massachusettes: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
NDSU. (2015). Advertising and Consumer Information. North Dakota State University, 1(1), 1. Retrieved from https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodlaw/processingsector/advertising-productclaims