Obesity is spreading at an alarming rate, not just in industrialised countries but also in developing countries, where it co-exists with malnutrition. The growing number of overweight and obese children at the national and international level is a real concern, increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes later in life. Nurses have an ideal opportunity to enhance health-promoting activities in order to reduce the risks of being overweight or obese.
ICN encourages nurses to promote healthy family lifestyle patterns across the lifespan. For example, the encouragement of breast-feeding, physical activity, regular meals, and nutrition and weight counselling are important interventions that help reduce the risk of obesity at all stages of human development. ICN’s Grow Your Wellness website provides a variety of educational, assessment, intervention and advocacy materials to support health professionals engaging in prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) -
Nurses should help the public understand that obesity is predominantly a social-environmental disease. Nurses can create public awareness of the multiple and changing determinants of health that affect becoming overweight or obese. They can identify, offer and refer to obesity prevention programmes and policies, as well as play a role in programme and policy monitoring and evaluation.
Relevant ICN publications:
- IND 2010 Delivering quality; serving communities: Nurses leading chronic care
- ICN on Obesity: Creating Public Awareness of a Social Environmental Disease
ICN position statement on Reducing environmental and lifestyle related health risks
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