Response to Classmates Post (Angela)
Respond and agree and provide additional details about the following classmates post:
According to Eugene Bardach smart practices are those opportunities that “have the latent potential to generate something of public value relatively cheaply”. It certainly makes sense to see and take advantage of solutions that have been tried in other agencies or jurisdictions and implement them instead of re-creating the wheel sort of speaking. This gives you the opportunity to utilize a tried and true mechanism as opposed to implementing a practice that may be subject to pitfalls. A practice is a tangible and visible behavior and the that is documented and commonly utilized. Typically agencies adopt practices and implement policies and procedures that staff are required to follow in their day to day activities.
My topic is childhood obesity and the primary focus of my research has been on preventing obesity by focusing on childhood habits and patterns from as early as toddler through preschool. In today’s world most households are comprised of a two income household and children are either left to be raised many hours in daycare settings which may vary from structured, licensed day care facilities to home based programs which may or may not be licensed and structured. From some of the research I have done, including First Lady, Michele Obama and her efforts with the “Let’s Move” program I have come across some amazing information that documents that toddlers, as young as two years old, are developing unhealthy habits because care givers are not educated enough on eating a healthy diet and getting enough physical activity. This is especially true in the private, in-home day cares that are unlicensed and not structured. It is imperative that we disseminate the information out through educational seminars and materials that can be made available to local communities.
Combining comprehensive strategies with a common sense theme like slogans as simple as “Let’s Move” to catch the attention of care givers and parents is the first step in the right directions. Then we need to get information out to communities that fosters an environment that supports healthy food choices and encourages physical activity for children in our day cares and schools. President Barack Obama launched an initiative to create a task force on childhood obesity that would conduct a review of every single program and policy relating to child nutrition and physical activity and develop a national plan to maximize federal resources and set concrete benchmarks toward the First Lady’s national goal. Some of the recommendations the task force set forth focus on the following five pillars:
1. Creating a health start for children from the beginning of life
2. Empowering parents and caregivers with information to promote knowledge and education on nutrition and the benefits of physical activity
3. Providing health food in schools
4. Improving access to healthy, affordable foods
5. Programs that promote physical activity.
One smart practice that Eugene Bardach mentioned in the text was to implement features that directly embody the basic mechanism. The basic mechanism is a means of directly accomplishing useful work in a cost effective manner. The basic mechanism of my topic is to educate and provide knowledge to those who have a direct impact on children in the community and to affect a change. These individuals are the parents and care givers of the children. If we target the parents, care givers and day cares through community wide education seminars, fliers, posters and open forum discussions and get their attention we can deliver an extremely important message about why it is imperative to eat healthy and get enough physical activity from an early age so that our children never have to contend with being overweight. By avoiding the problem we will improve the health and well being of the children in our communities. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is important to get the message out that everyone plays a role in reducing childhood obesity and that your involvement is key to ensuring a healthy future for our children. Make people accountable for their actions and they will take a more active role in becoming involved.
On the Let’s Move website there is a link that community leaders can click on to check out the programs in their area that have been made available through The Let’s Move Initiative. Fact sheets are available for down loading as well as other educational material that can be shared with community groups, daycare employees, parents and teacher organizations for literally only the cost of printing the material for the community. This information can be utilized and shared to help educate parents and care givers and promote the initiatives of leading a healthy life style. According to the site, one in five children is overweight or obese by the time they reach the age of 6 years old. It is estimated that “about 12 million babies and young children in childcare nationwide, child care providers have the power to instill healthy choice that could prevent obesity from the start” and avoid potential life threatening problems down the road.
Therefore one smart practice I would recommend with reference to childhood obesity is for local day cares to have staff visit the “Let’s Move” site, click on the child care section and download and print the educational material that is available to share with their workers, parents and care givers of these toddlers and young children. They can also create discussion groups where all can come together and discuss the educational material that is available. Perhaps even play groups and meet up groups can form with the parents of the children in day care can meet up at a local park encourage their children to run and play, get fresh air and the parents can also be outside and enjoy outdoor activity with their peers and children all for relatively no cost. This would be an excellent smart practice based upon the basic mechanism of downloading educational information and sharing it with their community.
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