Child Obesity: A Huge Health Problem Essay

The number of children that are overweight or could be at risk of becoming overweight keeps growing. This is a health problem that is not only affecting adults but it is rapidly affecting children. The first article explained that some of the contributing factors of child obesity are race and ethnicity, parental knowledge, dietary habits and environmental influences (Berkowitz, Borchard, 2009). The article also talks about types of preventions that may be affective such as interventions groups that start early in childhood and involvement and support from the community (Berkowitz, Borchard, 2009). The second article explains that excessive food portions and lack of exercise are contributing factors to child obesity. It talks about the different types of effects obesity has on ones physical and mental health. Some of the prevention strategies are diet and exercise, weight loss medication, and surgical procedures.

Although both articles expressed the causes of child obesity and both gave strategies on ways to help prevent and reduce obesity, they differed in many ways. Race and ethnicity was one of the causes to obesity in the first article. Culture is a factor contributing to childhood overweight because the cultural beliefs differ in regards to perception. Latin mothers tend to have a different attitude and health belief toward child obesity than actual health practitioners (Berkowitz, Borchard, 2009). “Nearly 200 Hispanic parents of obese children found that 35% did not believe their child was overweight” (Berkowitz, Borchard, 2009, p. 2). This shows that people do in fact have different views and perception on child obesity. Parental knowledge and dietary habits is another cause for child obesity. “Studies have shown that foods to which children are routinely exposed shape preferences and consumption” (Berkowitz, Borchard, 2009, p. 3). Children are more likely to consume foods that are easily available and they will also consume larger quantities if they are given large portions (Berkowitz, Borchard, 2009). Environmental influences is the last cause for child obesity. “Individual financial means to acquire healthy foods, as well as the distance individuals live from healthy and unhealthy food sources undoubtedly play a role in the maintenance of healthy dietary habits” (Berkowitz, Borchard, 2009, p. 3). The second article has similar factors that also contribute to child obesity. The first cause is excessive food portions; this was also discussed in the first article. If children are given larger portions they will more than likely consume more. “Excess food portions, high-sugar soft drinks, paucity of exercise opportunities in school…are significant contributors to pediatric obesity” (Kline, 2008, p. 38). The next factor for child obesity is not getting enough exercise. Although it was not proven in girls, it was mentioned that boys that lack high intensity sports had a higher risk of becoming obese (Kline, 2008). These articles started to differ when they began to explain the ways obesity rates can be lowered as well as how it can be treated and prevented. The first article gave two types of interventions the first was to start preventing child obesity early in childhood. If one wants to reduce or prevent obesity it should be done before any poor dietary patterns begin. From an early age parents and children should be influencing healthy dietary habits (Berkowitz, Borchard, 2009). This will help prevent and reduce the risk of becoming obese through the years to come. The second intervention to help reduce child obesity is for the community to be involved and to be supportive. People can request for federal government to increase physical activity promotion, support in ways to help maintain and enhance parks by including walking and bicycle paths. Parents should encourage and model healthy dietary choices (Berkowitz, Borchard, 2009). The article suggests that increasing the number of children to walk or ride their bike to school, also taking advantage of the many community recreational facilities. And last by being involved in as many physical activity opportunities. Nurses can also play an important role by helping and encouraging children. Nurses can help prevent child obesity by considering a range of factors. They will need to assess the type of prevention they consider best for the child and family.

A prevention intervention for childhood obesity may be part of a health promotion strategy or protection strategy. An example of a health promotion strategy is the increase of physical activity for children by enrolling them in a dance class. An example of a protection strategy is the adoption of a county ordinance that bans the use of trans fat in the preparation of food in fast food chain restaurants (Berkowitz, Borchard, 2009, p. 5).

The second article referred to three types of treatments. The first treatment that was mentioned was dieting and exercise. As it was mentioned before by maintaining a healthy diet and increasing physical activity it can lessen the risk of falling into obesity. The second treatment was by consuming a weight loss medication. There are many over the counter medications and liquids that claim can make losing weight easy but there are also medications that are prescribed to a person. These treatments are Sibutramine and Orlistat. Sibutramine helps suppress ones appetite, while Orlistat helps by blocking 30% of that is ingested. Both of these medications are approved by the FDA (Kline, 2008). The last treatment option and which is only an option if one has failed a weight loss program. Because there may be surgical issues, these programs have certain protocols and criteria that need to be met before going through with this procedure. These surgeries also come with responsibility and commitments that need to be followed before and after the procedure (Kline, 2008).

Child obesity does have impacts on the biopsychosocial spiritual being. In the first article it explained that culturally in Hispanic families they have different beliefs and their perspectives may not be the same as a health practitioner. If they don’t believe their children are not obese because of what they believe. Nurses must have respect for how others view their own lives but they must also take into consideration their patients physical, psychological, social and spiritual factors. Obesity can hurt children, physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually. Socially and even emotionally obesity can make one feel emotions they shouldn’t need to feel at such a young age. “Decreasing self-esteem in overweight children has been associated with increased rates if sadness, loneliness, and nervousness as well as a greater likelihood to smoke and drink alcohol” (Berkowitz, Borchard, 2009, p. 2). Psychologically many obese children have early symptoms of depression that can harm their outlook on life. “Severely obese children have lower health-related quality-of-life score as those diagnosed with cancer” (Kline, 2009, p. 42).

Child obesity is a huge health problem that is hurting children as wells as adults in many ways. There are probably many more reasons to what causes obesity other than the ones that were mentioned in the articles and even new and updated methods to help prevent obesity. But one thing that can help is by helping one another. Staying informed and teaching our children early in childhood to help lower the risks. Influencing children into healthy food diets and staying physically active. Parents, the community, nurses, we all have the ability to influence children and families to not only help prevent them from becoming unhealthy but also sparing them from all the physical and psychological complications to come.

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