Describe a problem or issue that needs a solution
The problem that has been identified that needs a solution is that of reducing childhood obesity. The United States obesity rate for children between the ages of 6-11 years has increased from seven percent to over 20%. Childhood overweight and obesity have become epidemic not only in the United States, but in all corners of the world. The condition is usually caused by consuming foods rich in fats and calories, lack of exercise, genetic susceptibility, and few instances of genetic factors, certain medicines, or illnesses. The proposed solutions for reducing childhood obesity discussed in this research paper are dieting and physical exercises. Dieting, or good nutrition, involves not only eating the recommended number of servings from all food groups, but also parents teaching children about healthy foods, practicing what they teach the children and ensuring children engage in physical activity regularly.
Importance of the problem
If not checked, the number of overweight children and adults will increase tremendously in the world. Consequently, many children growing into adulthood will be exposed to risks of developing hypertension, respiratory ailments, orthopedic problems, depression and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and accounts for more than 80% of all cases of diabetes in the US. Its cause is mainly attributed to obesity (WebMD, 2011. If childhood obesity is not reduced, many children and adolescents worldwide will suffer from this disease. In long term consequences, overweight children have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese as they grow into adolescent and eventually adults. This value rises to 80 percent if either one or both parents are overweight or obese. Obesity in middle or old age increases the risks of diabetes, hypertension, and general poor health, hence, it is important that it be reduced at infantile or juvenile level.
The objective of this project is to develop a framework for reducing the number of obese children. If this health problem is managed, disorders like hypertension, respiratory ailments, orthopedic problems, depression and type 2 diabetes can be avoided in the future.
Brief solution description and the way in which it will solve the problem or issue
One of the most effective ways of reducing obesity among all age groups is physical activities and healthy eating. By engaging in physical exercise, children will be able to eliminate excess fats in the body as they are burned through the process producing energy. On the other hand, through healthy eating, a child is able to balance the intake of various minerals in the body. Basically, healthy eating entails consuming foods that contain all the essential minerals in the required proportions. By taking in a balanced diet, children will limit consumption of foods that contain high amounts of fats and hence reduce the likelihood of being obese.
Description of the proposed solution
The solution for reducing childhood obesity is prevention through healthy eating and physical exercises. Through vigorous physical activity, excessive fats are lost and this decreases the probability of obesity in children. Reports by pediatrics on child obesity prevention have stated that through initiatives by nurses and other healthcare experts, there should be programs to educate parents on healthy dietary choices. Parents should know be advised to begin dietary programs by giving children a strong start with good nutrition during pregnancy and early childhood. Parents should know that advertising influences dietary and food choices in children. Consequently, they should advice children to make choices on their own. However, parents should understand that children need to take a balanced diet and do a lot of exercise to reduce the chances of being overweight. Infants must be breastfed and should not be fed on foods rich in lots of fats. Children should not be left alone for they make poor dietary decisions and engage in sedentary lifestyles that may make them vulnerable to obesity.
Consistency of solution with research support
The solutions to childhood obesity identified in the paper are consistent with previous studies. Nutrition, eating habits and physical activities have been identified as the most effective ways in the reduction of child obesity (Brownell, 2004). A study conducted among children of kindergarten-going age in the US found that a one-hour increase in physical activities per week led to 1.8% drop in body mass index among children suffering form obesity. The study concluded that enhancing physical activities in kindergarten to at least five hours per week could lessen the proportion of children categorized as overweight from 10 to 5.6 percent (Davis, Grace-Cleveland, Hassink, Johnson, Paradis, & Resnicow, 2007). Physical activity is very effective in preventing obesity. Studies have demonstrated that increasing the intake of healthy foods may be more useful in decreasing overweight than focusing on decreasing fats and sugar consumption (Perusse and Bourchard, 1999). Mothers are usually more involved in planning their child’s diet than other adults, hence, they can influence food attitudes and practices among their young children (Davis et al, 2007). By the time children enter kindergarten, their food preferences and the social context associated with food intake are established. Another study by Bish, Regis, and Gottesman (2005) reported that the provision of parent education on diet is helpful in preventing obesity among children.
Feasibility of implementing the proposed solution
Physical exercise and healthy eating are feasible solutions to reducing childhood obesity. The solutions do not require any exorbitant spending as they can be undertaken by parents and teachers at home and at school respectively. Children can be made to engage in physical activity at home at school without affecting the amount of time available for them to study. Numerous government programs have been established in school environments to address the global obesity epidemic. Parents should make full use of such facilities and programs as they are usually provided free of charge, or at very low costs (Schosser, 2002). The solution will work effectively as parents will be the ones to make dietary choices for their families thus practice good nutrition. Technology such as television normally air programs on preventive measures and this forms an inexpensive approach to reducing childhood obesity. For these sets of solutions to work efficiently, parents must discourage their children from consuming excess intake of calories and ensure they partake in physical activity.
Consistency of proposed solution with organization or community culture and resources
Nursing programs have been initiated at community level and this will help in educating parents on preventive measures of childhood obesity. The community is always ready to receive available free education and this will make it easier for nurses to teach them the importance of good diet and physical exercises in preventing obesity and the program will not conflict with the current culture. Obesity is abhorred in many societies and this will encourage many families to do all they can to prevent their children from becoming obese. In addition, many societies and institutions recognize the importance of play among children and this can encourage children’s participation in physical activities.
Bish, B., Regis, K., & Gottesman, M.M. (2005). Educating parents about portion sizes for preschoolers. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 19(12), 54-59.
Brownell, K. (2004). Food Fight: The Inside Story of the Food Industry. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Davis, M. M., Grace-Cleveland, B., Hassink, S., Johnson, R., Paradis, G., & Resnicow, K. (2007). Recommendations for prevention of childhood obesity. Pediatrics, 120(42), 5229-5253.
Perusse, L., & Bourchard, C. (1999). Role of genetic factors in childhood obesity and in susceptibility to dietary variations. Annals of Medicine, 32(5), 519-525.
Schosser, E. (2002). Fast Food Nation. New York, NY: Perennial Publishing.