Obesity Among Children: Statistics, Management, and Solutions

The basis of obesity

When one begins to gain extra weight, there is always a call for changing the diet or lifestyle as this indicates that they could tend to gain weight fast (Basset & Perl, 2004). Children, in this case, will only be deemed obese when their weight is at a minimum of 10% above the required height and body. Obesity starts when children are five or six years old or at the adolescent stage. Studies indicate the possibility of a child being obese in adulthood is when they are at the age of 10 and 13 (Puhl & Heuer, 2010). The current state of childhood obesity is alarming. Thus, this essay aims to unveil the statistics related to child obesity, the legal framework used by nurses in managing obesity as well as the possible recommendation required to fight the condition amongst children worldwide.

The basis of obesity varies from hereditary to biological factors. Behavioral, as well as cultural factors, also largely contribute to obesity. Thus, it comes about when one takes excess calories. The chance of one becoming obese depends on issues such as whether the parent was obese or not. There are high chances that if a parent is obese, the child will also be obese. When both parents are obese, the chances are 80% (Puhl & Heuer, 2010). In addition to the factors highlighted, certain medical disorders can cause obesity via physical attributes (Puhl & Heuer, 2010).

Concerning child obesity factors such as diet, poor exercise, and peer problems can lead to obesity (Basset & Perl, 2004). In some special cases, children can become obese due to emotional problems. It is in unusual circumstances that child obesity originates from health complications for instance hormonal imbalance. Thus, the activities that children participate in are significant in establishing their weight. Many children spend the whole day dormant thus ending up obese (Puhl & Heuer, 2010).

Significance of obesity on a population/ statistics

The significance of child obesity is apparent in the process that it affects one’s health and well-being. Obesity can affect many people when they acquire cardiovascular diseases (Puhl & Heuer, 2010). This condition is a result of cholesterol, high blood pressure. Studies show that out of 5-17-year-old children who are obese, 70% of them are at risk of acquiring cardiovascular diseases (Puhl & Heuer, 2010).

In addition to cardiovascular diseases, obese children and adolescents have high chances of prediabetes in which blood glucose levels show signs of the development of diabetes (Puhl & Heuer, 2010). Moreover, obese children suffer from bone-related illnesses and joint problems as well as psychosocial problems (Puhl & Heuer, 2010). Some of these problems include stigmatization and low self-esteem. The effect of obesity on children and adolescents normally extends to adulthood (Public Health England, 2013). The victims thus normally risk having heart diseases or cancer. Children with obesity at the early age of 2 are likely to remain obese in adulthood (Public Health England, 2013).

As a result of these effects, as some are severe and long-term, the WHO regards obesity as a global health challenge (Public Health England, 2013). The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) has managed to provide details of the prevalence of child obesity by taking the weight and heights of approximately one million children in England annually (Public Health England, 2013). From this report, nearly 20% of children in year 6 (aged 10-11) have obesity. 14.45 are overweight. Children at the reception age of 4-5 years are also in the report with 9.3% being obese and 13.0% overweight (Public Health England, 2013).

The objective of selecting the topic and the application in this research

The problem of obesity is significant as this essay intends to reveal the state of the victims. There exist adequate data that reveal that sensitization and awareness campaigns to end child obesity are necessary (CDC, 2014). For example, in the USA, obesity is common between the age of 16 and 33 years. In addition, childhood obesity has doubled its prevalence in children for the past 30 years (CDC, 2014). In 1980, 7% of children aged 6-11 in the USA were obese (CDC, 2014). This has increased to 18% in the year 2012.

An additional basis for selecting this topic is that obesity has become one of the fastest health conditions to acquire and determine but very intricate to treat. It has been established as the main cause for over 300,000 deaths annually due to poor diet and lack of exercise amongst the victims (CDC, 2014). This means that children who are overweight are likely to suffer when they become adults if people ignore healthy eating patterns (Kubik & Davey, 2007).

How to solve this issue as the CHN

In controlling obesity in children, a CHN needs to consider a wide range of factors. This involves assessing the level and type of interventions required (Berkowitz & Borchard, 2009). This involves looking at how the intervention measures fit the family, culture, environment, language, and socio-economic factors of the victim (Berkowitz & Borchard, 2009). Thus, the prevention of childhood obesity is part of either positive behavior promotion or protection strategy (Berkowitz & Borchard, 2009). In the promotion strategy, the CHN can help develop the physical activity of children.

The best level to introduce promotion or protection strategy is at the community. This will as well rely on the way of life and social class of the child affected by the health condition (Berkowitz & Borchard, 2009). A community-based nurse requires taking charge of the health promotion or protection strategy required to prevent childhood obesity. They need to influence the programs and policies that create an impact on the prevention of obesity (Berkowitz & Borchard, 2009). They need to have the right of entry to information on how to develop programs. Implementation of community-based approaches such as advocacy at policy levels can be powerful enough in the prevention process (Berkowitz & Borchard, 2009).

Organizations and agencies such as CDC and WHO recommend the use of established institutions as an avenue to prevent obesity (CDC, 2014; Kubik & Davey, 2007). In their argument, they have the perception that schools play a significant role in setting and environment where policies that support healthy behaviors can be formulated and taught (CDC, 2014; Kubik & Davey, 2007). The school environment is also perfect for learners to realize eating patterns significant for their health, as well as, the appropriate workout programs.

The significant recommendation for a CHN is to advise the members of the community to have healthy lifestyles starting with their eating habits and physical activity. This is with the idea that a good diet and physical activities for children depend on factors such as schools, childcare settings, family, media, administrative bodies, and food companies. With the high annual mortality rates as a result of obesity, community health nurses need to improve their knowledge and ensure that they follow all prevention strategies.

References

Bassett, M. T. & Perl, S. (2004). Obesity: The Public Health Challenge of Our Time. American Journal of Public Health, 94 (9), 56-98.

Berkowitz, B. & Borchard, M. (2009). Advocating for the Prevention of Childhood Obesity: A Call to Action for Nursing. The Journal of Issues in Nursing, 14 (1), 34-38.

CDC (2014). Adolescent and School Health: Health Effects of Childhood Obesity.

Kubik, M. Y. & Davey, S. (2007). Obesity Prevention in Schools: Current Role and Future Practice of School Nurses. National Institute of Health.

Public Health England. (2013). Child Obesity. Web.

Puhl, R., M. & Heuer, C. A. (2010). Obesity Stigma: Important Considerations for Public Health. American Journal of Public Health, 100 (6): 1019–1028.

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