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Diet and Overweight in Tennessee
A significant behavioral risk factor affecting our nation’s population is unhealthy diet resulting in obesity (Knickman & Kovner, 2015). Unfortunately, this health issue significantly influenced the great state of Tennessee. Tennessee is ranked 15th out of all the states for highest obesity rates in adults and ranked 20th for ages 10-17 (The State of Obesity, 2018). Tennessee’s obesity rate has increased dramatically in the past few decades. In 1990, the obesity rate for the state was 11.1%, rose to 20.9% in 2000, and 32.8% in 2017 (The State of Obesity, 2018). This obesity has affected a rise in health conditions such as diabetes with a current rate of 13.1%, hypertension with a current rate of 38.7%, and heart disease with a current rate of 38.7% (The State of Obesity, 2018). If the trend of obesity continues at this rate, disease is going to increase substantially in Tennessee. To stop the trend of poor diet and obesity in Tennessee, drastic interventions are needed.
Population-Based Intervention Model Examples
According to the Population-Based Intervention Model, effective interventions include downstream, midstream, and upstream (Knickman & Kovner, 2015). Downstream interventions include interventions based on an individual. Providers in my community should focus on BMI at well-visits with individuals. As part of the well-visit, the provider needs to provide education on the individual’s BMI. Specifically, discussion regarding what it means and how to decrease it or prevent it from elevation is imperative. The provider should review the patient’s regular diet, make suggestions on improvements, and provide resources related to healthy eating. In small southern Tennessee towns, education on healthy nutrition is lacking. However, people seem to trust their doctors in the rural community. Individual focus on diet by the providers would be beneficial.
Midstream interventions of the Population-Based Intervention Model are interventions focused on communities (Knickman & Kovner, 2015). When traveling through Tennessee, the importance of southern cooking and fast food is announced all over the interstate billboards. Manchester, TN is no exception as Interstate 24 runs straight through it creating the nickname, Interstate Town. Manchester is the main town in Coffee County with even smaller towns surrounding it. This is the community in which I live, full of fast food and very limited healthy restaurant options. The United States Department of Agriculture (2017) reported 38 fast food restaurants in 2014, making 0.71 fast food restaurants for every 1,000 people. Restaurants with healthy options in Manchester, TN are nearly non-existent. An example of an effective midstream intervention in Manchester would be to bring in healthier restaurants. This busy, working-class community full of families eats out a lot while focusing on church events, sports, and volunteering. Having quick, healthy restaurant options would be helpful in improving health and decreasing obesity in this area.
Upstream interventions of the Population-Based Intervention Model are interventions made by policies at the state and national levels (Knickman and Kovner, 2015). According to The State of Obesity (2018), Tennessee has yet to make any laws concerning the requirement of posting caloric information in restaurants. Perhaps, if individuals saw this information on their regularly eaten food options, they would get accustomed to choosing the lesser calorie options. Also, this policy may help to inform community members as to why eating at home or having healthier restaurants would be beneficial to their health.
Poor diet and obesity are huge concerns in Tennessee as the increasing trends will only worsen disease rates in the future. Ideas such as one-on-one nutritional attention by providers, healthier restaurant choices, and policies requiring posted nutritional information could increase the health of the Tennessee population.
Knickman, J. R., & Kovner, A. R. (Eds.). (2015). Health care delivery in the united states (11th ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing.
The State of Obesity. (2018). The state of obesity in tennessee [data file]. Retrieved from https://stateofobesity.org/states/tn/
United States Department of Agriculture. (2017). Economic research service [data file]. Retrieved from https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-environment-atlas/go-to-the-atlas/