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Record identifier : 569076
Personal Name - Primary Intelectual Responsibility : Carpenter, Cynthia Paige
Title and statement of responsibility : Designing interagency collaborations between the public education and public health sectors to reduce childhood obesity [Thesis]
Publication, Distribution,Etc. : University of Arkansas, 2009
Language of the Item : eng
Dissertation of thesis details and type of degree : Ph.D
Body granting the degree : , University of Arkansas
Summary or Abstract : Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States. The effects are increased ailments such as early-onset type 2 diabetes, hypertension and decreased mobility (Dalton, 2004). Childhood obesity is a "wicked" issue because it is not easily amenable to traditional management strategies (Conklin, 2006). Therefore, it is imperative to seek out innovative ways of addressing it. One of the resolutions proposed by policy scholars is to consider increasing interagency collaborations to minimize miscommunication, improve client services, and enhance current knowledge.With changing policy environments, interagency collaborations present an opportunity for agencies to work together to solve wicked problems creatively. This dissertation aims to determine whether frontline workers in the public education and public health sectors are interested in and willing to work together to solve the problem of childhood obesity. These frontline workers bring the energy and expertise to work directly with overweight children (Vinzant & Crothers, 1998).To explore the potential of interagency collaborations between public education and public health, I conducted a series of focus groups, supplemented by a Delphi process, at education and health agencies in a south central state of the United States where childhood obesity is of considerable concern to public policy makers. These two service providers were selected because they are confronted with childhood obesity issues on a recurring basis, they have access to the service recipients, and they are the frontline workers who have the ability to make meaningful change. However, research has shown that they do not collaborate on a routine basis (Blacker, 2000). Through discussions with frontline workers to include their perceptions of agency decision makers, I sought to identify (a) how agency members frame childhood obesity and whether they frame the issues in a similar fashion, (b) what they view as the main barriers to interagency collaborations, and (c) whether they have had experiences in and express a willingness to participate in such collaborations. The results of this dissertation align frontline realities with the concept of interagency collaborations.Representatives from both the public education and public health agencies identified poor nutrition and low activity levels as primary causes of childhood obesity. Additionally, both agencies noted concern about the psychological and emotional well-being of overweight children. However, educators and health professionals differed in how to address childhood obesity in the agency setting. Each agency acknowledged that the family lifestyle of the child was a factor that cannot be changed without parental involvement. There are also limitations to these agencies' participation in interagency collaborations which are beyond their control, such as time constraints and agency support. The participants indicated that current interaction across agency boundaries between frontline workers is rare. Yet the participants contend that internal informal networks exist which could become a framework to include frontline workers from other agencies.According to Sharp (1994), it is likely that childhood obesity will remain on the policy agenda as policy makers' awareness of its seriousness continues to increase. Therefore, it is important to sustain awareness of childhood obesity with state policy makers and agency decision makers. In order to make meaningful change in childhood obesity, coordination between state policy makers and agency champions is needed to identify resources and policies necessary to implement interagency collaborations. Furthermore, funding at the state level is needed for public managers to commit to allowing frontline workers to participate in interagency collaborations. Also, improving communication between frontline workers across agency boundaries is an important step in the formative stages of working together to solve problems such as childhood obesity. Finally, promoting school health initiatives and resources is a means of conveying currently available programs and services to the students and their parents..
Topical Name Used as Subject : Public health
: Public administration
: Health education
Information of biblio record : TL
 
 
 
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