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GENETIC SCREENING FOR MANDATORY OBESITY SCREENING

Outline

Genetic screening for mandatory obesity screening of school-aged children
Pros and cons of screening for this health issue.

Factors That Influence implementation

Ethics of Screening
References

 

 
Genetic screening for mandatory obesity screening of school-aged children
The progress in behavioral genetics points to the significance of biological heredity in character traits, and also in medical conditions. Some examples of the latter include conditions such as cystic fibrosis, Down’s syndrome, Huntington’s disease, and many others. Some diseases result from the interaction of an individual’s genetic variable with the immediate environmental factors, and they include diseases such as breast cancer. Although these diseases are associated with guilt and stigmatization, society does not apportion blame of the victims directly. This is the opposite for obesity, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse which are considered as a result of an individual’s behavioral trait (McLellan, Lewis, O’Brien & Kleber, 1999).
Pros and cons of screening for this health issue.
Adolescents usually need to believe that they require unequivocal control to adjust appropriately to life problems. Some children may have knowledge about various conditions in their family. At times they are aware that they are at risk of contracting the same, but are unable to articulate their concerns and anxieties. Studies conducted in Canada have revealed that children relish the opportunity to participate in such screening programs. Screening may also relieve anxiety and stress of the parents in relation to their child’s condition, which in turn helps the family to discuss the problem more openly. Screening also equips the parent with knowledge of how to select the best environment for their children basing on the genetic factors identified (Dalby, 1995). Some scholars argue that genetic screening deprives the adolescents of their rights to make informed consent when they attain adulthood, on whether or not to participate in the screening program. It is widely observed that adults do not like being tested for conditions. The perception of the adolescents may change when they matures. Screening may also lead to negative outcomes such as discrimination and stigmatization from their peers in relation to their condition (Wertz, Fanos & Reilly, 1994).
Factors That Influence implementation
The difficulty of communicating the importance of a genetic examination result is acute in relation to polygenic traits of minimal penetration. For example, in case of a cancer where the affected genetic condition results to risk. Distant from actual certainty, that the person contract the disease. This might be the same case in obesity. There are irregular occurring exceptions such as persons suffering from congenital leptin deficiency exhibit a monogenic variation that eventually leads to obesity. The general understanding of risk and probability reports is limited. Even educated people have a challenge using mathematical formulations regarding probability and scientific literacy. The principle of lifetime risk is misunderstood, and so is the concept that demographic factor influence average risk (Weinstein, 1999).
Information obtained from screening has biological relevance to the relative of the patient especially the close ones. This enables the family to understand the risks involved or associated with the genetic condition. It also equips them with relevant knowledge on how to cope with the condition (Condit, Parrott & O’Grady, 2000).
Ethics of Screening
Many scholars have highlighted the significance of communication in counseling before and during genetic testing. They have emphasized on the need for informed consent to be carried out as a process and not as a single event. This process should involve interaction between both parties and not the use of expert advice that is unidirectional flowing from the counselor to the individual. However, it has been noted that this approach might be challenging when being applied to minors (Condit, Parrott & O’Grady, 2000).

 


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