Childhood Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet

Introduction

People of all ages are subject to various health issues, and children are not an exception. Young individuals suffer from various diseases because of environmental, genetic, behavioral, and other factors, meaning that the research field should adequately address childhood health. Among the possible problems, child obesity is of significance because this issue is of a global scale and can lead to more adverse consequences.

That is why the given paper is going to address the problem under consideration and review the current literature on the topic. At this stage, it is possible to offer a PICOT question to guide the research:

  • (P) Among children of 6-12 years old who are obese according to their body mass index (BMI), can
  • (I) a school-based intervention including a physical activity component and a healthy diet,
  • (C) compared to a dietary intervention only,
  • (O) reduce the children’s BMI
  • (T) by June 2021?

Brief Literature Review

The issue of childhood obesity receives much attention, and a high number of articles on the topic proves this claim. Thus, Brown et al. (2016) stipulate that the global child obesity rate increased by approximately 47% from 1980 to 2013 (p. 1). This finding demonstrates that young individuals of all origins suffer from the condition. One should also note that childhood obesity leads to further health conditions, and they are cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and others (Noh & Min, 2020).

According to Noh and Min (2020), multiple factors lead to the presence of the problem under analysis, including genetic peculiarities, involvement in physical activity, specific behaviors, and others. Many causes denote that it is impossible to find a single intervention that would solve the case. That is why the following information will comment on possible options to address the childhood obesity problem.

Multiple articles address the issue under analysis and comment on possible solutions. Brown et al. (2016) state that school-based interventions that involve increased physical activity and a decreased intake of sweetened beverages are effective. It is so because this environment denotes that children are under constant control, while their peers’ behavior can become an additional motivating factor to follow a healthy action. Nicholson et al. (2020) also state that schools are appropriate settings when it is necessary to mitigate the effects of childhood obesity. However, Bleich et al. (2018) admit that school interventions are more useful when they are combined with a home element.

This thought demonstrates that a comprehensive approach is necessary to address the problem. Nigg et al. (2016) also admit that interventions that target multiple environments are more useful since they address many factors that lead to the issue. Consequently, the opposing points of view mean that it is reasonable to identify whether a specific intervention can generate positive outcomes within a school setting.

When it comes to children with obesity, it is necessary to comment on how this condition is diagnosed. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020) recommends using BMI as a guiding tool. This index is calculated by dividing a person’s weight by squared height. This formula is effective for identifying whether an individual has weight issues, meaning that a high BMI typically means that a person has excessive weight. The CDC (2020) also admits that the BMI is age- and gender-specific, which contributes to an adequate assessment of every single case. That is why the given paper focuses on children with high BMI depending on their age and gender.

Description of the Case

As has been mentioned above, multiple factors can lead to childhood obesity, and the given section is going to describe some of them. Firstly, Noh and Min (2020) admit that genetic peculiarities play a significant role since Black and Hispanic children are more likely to be obese compared to White individuals. It denotes that minorities should draw more attention to the given issue. Secondly, insufficient involvement in physical activities and a sedentary lifestyle are additional factors that are positively correlated with childhood obesity (Nigg et al., 2016). This scenario leads to the fact that children consume more energy than they spend, leading to fat creation.

Finally, one should admit that gender can also impact obesity because “school-aged boys (20.4%) had a higher obesity rate than girls (16.3%)” (Noh & Min, 2020, p. 3). Thus, the given description demonstrates that childhood obesity requires an adequate response.

Even though the school setting is useful for addressing childhood obesity, it does not mean that educators and school nurses are only responsible for mitigating the problem. It is an assignment for advanced practice nurses to develop an effective intervention and explain how schools should implement them. It means that these healthcare professionals should act as advisors by providing teachers and school nurses with guidelines to reduce childhood obesity rates.

Synthesized Literature Findings

The literature review above has demonstrated that childhood obesity is a crucial topic that deserves much attention. When it comes to possible interventions, they can be divided into two groups. On the one hand, Brown et al. (2016) and Nicholson et al. (2020) state that school-based interventions, including physical activity promotion or dietary changes, are suitable options. It is so because children spend much time in this environment, and educators and peers can control their behavior. On the other hand, Bleich et al. (2018) and Nigg et al. (2016) argue that school interventions are more effective if they are combined with family or community ones. Consequently, the findings reveal that further research is necessary to identify the effectiveness of a school-based intervention that involves both a physical activity component and healthy diet promotion compared to other actions.

Case Summary

The information above is sufficient to state that a specific intervention is necessary to address the children with a high BMI that classifies them as having obesity. Since individuals of 6-12 years old who are not patients of a particular clinical setting are involved, schools are considered the most suitable environment to implement possible improvements (Brown et al., 2016; Nicholson et al., 2020).

It is so because schoolchildren are under constant supervision, while their peers’ behavior can become an additional motivating factor. However, there is also an opinion that such an intervention is not sufficient, meaning that other environments should be involved to reckon on positive outcomes. Furthermore, it is not evident that the school intervention is the most effective. These data highlight the existing inefficiency that is present in research, denoting that it is necessary to assess the effectiveness of a multicomponent school-based intervention that implies physical activity and dietary components.

Proposed Solution

The proposed solution to the identified issue is that advanced practice nurses should collaborate with schools to implement a specific intervention. It should involve physical activity guidelines and dietary improvements to ensure that children are not left with excessive amounts of energy, which contributes to fat creation. Among the possible solutions, it is reasonable to focus on school-based interventions because valid and reliable research proves their effectiveness.

For example, Brown et al. (2016) have conducted a systematic review of randomized and nonrandomized studies to find that childhood obesity reduction can be achieved in the school setting. Simultaneously, a meta-analysis by Nicholson et al. (2020) is also relevant because it relies on 14 relevant studies. However, this information does not mean that the other articles that have been used in this paper are not credible. Each of them is a peer-reviewed study that offers significant conclusions, but the articles by Brown et al. (2016) and Nicholson et al. (2020) deserve specific attention since they promote the use of school-only interventions.

Conclusion

Childhood obesity is a widespread disease that affects millions of children throughout the globe. Multiple causes are present, and they can lead to adverse consequences, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and others. That is why effective interventions are required to address the issue and reduce the prevalence of this condition. Since children with obesity are not patients of a specific clinical setting, schools are considered the most suitable environments to implement any improvements. However, advanced practice nurses should cooperate with school teachers and nurses to ensure that the intervention meets medical standards and does not harm children. Thus, the paper has demonstrated that it is reasonable to identify how effective physical activity promotion and dietary improvement can be for reducing the spread of childhood obesity.

References

Bleich, S. N., Vercammen, K. A., Zatz, L. Y., Frelier, J. M., Ebbeling, C. B., & Peeters, A. (2018). Interventiosn to prevent global childhood overweight and obesity: A systematic review. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 6(4), 332-346. Web.

Brown, E. C., Buchan, D. S., Baker, J. S., Wyatt, F. B., Bocalini, D. S., & Kilgore, L. (2016). A systematized review of primary school whole class child obesity interventions: Effectiveness, characteristics, and strategies. BioMed Research International, 1-15. Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). About child & teen BMI. Web.

Nicholson, L. M., Loren, D. M., Reifenberg, A., Beets, M. W., & Bohnert, A. M. (2020). School as a protective setting for excess weight gain and child obesity: A meta-analysis. Journal of School Health, 91(1), 19-28. Web.

Nigg, C. R., Anwar, M. M. U., Braun, K. L., Mercado, J., Fialkowski, M. K., Areta, A. A. R., Belyeu-Camacho, T., Bersamin, A., Guerrero, R. L., Castro, R., DeBaryshe, B., Vargo, A. M., Van der Ryn, M., Braden, K. W., & Novotny, R. (2016). A review of promising multicomponent environmental child obesity prevention intervention strategies by the Children’s Healthy Living Program. Journal of Environmental Health, 79(3), 18-27.

Noh, K., & Min, J. J. (2020). Understanding school-aged childhood obesity of body mass index: Application of the social-ecological framework. Children, 7, 1-16. Web.

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NerdyRoo. (2022, May 23). Childhood Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet. Retrieved from https://nerdyroo.com/childhood-obesity-physical-activity-and-diet/

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