Childhood Obesity – Review Of The Literature

The following is a review of literature related to childhood obesity which is major health problem all over the world. The essay will focus on the different studies that have been done on childhood obesity and the recommended solutions to the problem. Most of the literature recognizes that childhood obesity is a major health problem, and not one single intervention is adequate to deal with the problem. The role of nurses in interventions is critical to reducing and preventing childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity is a big problem in Spain and other developed countries. A study was done in Spain which provided an overview of obesity in Spain, and the approach required to develop preventive strategies in the country. It acknowledged that obesity is a major public issue in developed countries. It also provided statistics of obesity in Spain. Prevalence of obesity in Spanish children is 13.9% for the whole group. The causes of obesity in Spain are absence of breast feeding, low consumption of fruits, vegetables, high consumptions of soft drinks, sweetened foods, and low physical activity due to too much time spent watching television. It proposes a school based intervention project as a solution for dealing with the problem. The program will promote healthy eating at the school level with the support of parents (Aranceta et al, 2007).

Promoting knowledge among undergraduate nursing students is important in the prevention of obesity when they start to practice. There are numerous health issues that are related to the childhood obesity pandemic. There is single strategy than can deal with the problem effectively.  Nurses need to work together with children and parents through education, guidance and support. Nurses play a significant role in interventions for treating childhood obesity. If nurses are trained in childhood obesity before they practice, it will prepare them on how to deal with children with obesity. It will develop their creative ability in engaging children to learn about obesity (Ellen Ben-Sefer, 2008).

Childhood obesity is a major health issue that an international panel of experts did a systematic review of obesity to come up with best practice. The objective was to make recommendations about the development and implementation of best practice recommendations to promote healthy weight in children and youth for the prevention of chronic diseases associated with obesity. The panel analyzed 147 intervention programs based in pre-school, primary school and secondary schools. It concluded that not a single program provided any model for best practice. However, it proposed that schools were the best setting for intervention programs for obesity. Schools were ideal for also promoting physical activity which is an essential component of reducing and preventing obesity. Programs should be evaluated on the long term effect to maintaining healthy weight (Flynn et al., 2006).

  1. Nurses and families can work together in dealing with overweight children. Nurses can also provide the knowledge and support to families to deal with overweight children before they become obese. Preventing and reducing obesity among children requires the involvement of families and nurses. These two groups are critical in providing education, support and guidance during intervention programs and to reduce the pandemic (Harbaugh et al, 2007).

Mothers play an important role in the health of their children. A group of mothers with obese children have come up with strategies designed to deal with obesity. Healthy eating habits begin with the parents. The mothers initiated a range of strategies that included development of physical activities, reducing consumption of junk food, and creating awareness of healthy foods.  If mothers make healthy choices from the time their children are born, it is more likely that the children will not become obese. The study supported the role of nurses in working with mothers in implementing interventions that deal with obesity (Jackson, Mannix, Faga, and McDonald, 2005).

The gravity of childhood obesity in the United States is alarming. Obesity is an epidemic that is threatening America as the number of obese adults is rapidly increasing. Children need to change their eating habits and start making healthy choices. American needs to change their lifestyles as over 50% of obese children become obese adults. Chronic diseases related to obesity are on the rise and there is need for the use of health practitioners such as nurses in the fight against obesity (Kaufman, 2005).

Nurse practitioners play a significant role in dealing with childhood obesity. A study was done to describe the prevention practices that nurse practitioners (NPs) in family and pediatric practices use in dealing with childhood obesity. It concludes that NPs working in family and pediatric practices are not consistent in screening for childhood obesity through the checking of Body Mass Index (BMI). However, NPs are involved and committed to teaching parents about making healthy food choice and engaging their families in physical activity. This study supports the significant role that nurses play in the prevention and reduction of childhood obesity. It concludes that the major barriers to the implementation of childhood obesity strategies are parental attitudes, American lifestyle and lack of resources for both the NP and the family (Larsen, Mandleco, Williams, and Tiedeman, 2006).

Childhood obesity is an increasing health problem linked to chronic health problems in adults and children. Childhood obesity is a major health issue because of its association with other chronic diseases such as diabetes. One of the major challenges of obesity is when it persists into adulthood. Decreasing calorie intake and burning calories through physical activities are not enough to reduce obesity. The use of case management is useful in dealing with chronic health problems brought about by obesity. This is better than single interventions on weight management which cannot detect other chronic illnesses related to obesity. (Mason et al, 2008).

Many studies have been done to come up with methods to use as best practice for obesity prevention. One of the causes of obesity is lack of access to healthy foods. Most children with obesity have access to a lot of junk food, and sweetened drinks compared to healthy food. Determining the location of food retailers in relation to the urban population density of obesity behaviors is important in coming up with best practice to prevent obesity. Best practice should include interventions that support nutrition and healthy choices and accessibility to these in preventing obesity in children (McNeil and Flynn, 2006).

The performance of clinician’s performance in identifying and managing obesity can help determine how effective they are in preventing obesity. An analysis on statistical information on the rates of identification of obesity by pediatric residents, nurses, and faculty in an academic primary care setting can determine their performance. Pediatric health care providers are the crucial initial step in the management of obesity. They are the first point of contact that children make when they are ill, and early detection and prevention can help reduce obesity (O’Brien, Holubkov, and Reis, 2004).

Pediatric obesity is a chronic and growing problem for which new ideas offer hope for effective solutions. It is important that understanding that obesity is an increase in fat mass and not body weight can assist in coming up with effective solutions. The identification of bio chemicals that cause obesity through genetic approaches can provide a theoretical foundation to develop safe and effective obesity treatments. This is a different approach to coming up with a solution for obesity as no single intervention can be used to prevent it (Schonfeld-Warden and Warden, 1997).

Technology is an important tool in health care management. The use of Health Information Technology (HIT) in the screening and treatment of childhood obesity can be beneficial in the reduction and prevention of obesity. Childhood obesity is a global health issue affecting children in every country. HIT can be used for screening purposes and for monitoring the effectiveness of various interventions for childhood obesity. HIT can improve the quality, efficiency, and management of childhood obesity (Smith et al, 2013).

Dietary treatments in children with simple obesity through the analysis of the children’s state of nutrition and eating habits are an effective way of preventing childhood obesity. Simple obesity in children aged 3-15 is connected to familial, environmental factors and incorrect eating habits. Diet is an important aspect of any intervention for childhood obesity. When a child understands the benefits of eating health early in life, they will develop healthy eating habits which will reduce the chances of them becoming obese (Weker, 2006).

Nurses play a significant role in fighting obesity in children. A combination of strategies is required to fight the disease. Statistics on obesity in the United States are alarming as the number of children with chronic diseases related to obesity is also on the rise. Nurses are an important part of the solution as they can educate and support children and their families on changing their lifestyles and making healthy choices (White, 2002).

The prevalence rates of overweight and obesity among Hong Kong Chinese children are over 10%. The differences in behavior between overweight children and obese children are statistically significant. These two groups are different, and therefore different intervention strategies should be used for each group. Health issues affecting overweight children are very different from those affecting obese children (Wong, 2005).

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