The modern nursing practice deals with health issues that are affecting the majority of the American population. While the past problems included such things as epidemics from bacterial illnesses, nowadays most of them are controlled by medication. Even the most severe cases can be cured in inappropriate conditions. Nowadays, nurses are mostly disturbed with the way of life Americans lead that affects their health state. One of the most widespread issues encountered by the nation is the obesity level. It is even included in the objective of the Healthy People 2020 program (Healthy People 2020, n. d.). People, both children, and adults suffer from being overweight, which not only raises psychological and aesthetic problems, but also serves as a cause for many health problems regarding cardiovascular functions, bone traumas, and other diagnoses.
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The paper reviews the article by Brophy-Herb et al. (2017) that uses an experimental method of influencing child obesity rates by changing the nutrition habits within several families. The authors claim that many studies focus on nutrition plans and healthy eating habits that should serve as guidelines for people wishing to overcome the problem of child obesity. However, they recognize the lack of research regarding families with low income that do not have the means to buy healthy food for their children. The article contains two stages, one being the Screening and another one the Confirming phase, each having its hypothesis. The first hypothesis states that the program of Simply Dinner influences the frequency of home meals shared by families. The second hypothesis implies that the program positively affects the body mass index of the tested children.
The article does not feature a detailed literature review of the subject. There is no history of other researchers studying the issue of obesity, neither there is a comparison or analysis of contradicting theories. Nevertheless, the article operates with theories about the obesity issue in the United States. It begins with an overview of the problem, while the references are provided in the form of corresponding source numbers that can be found at the end. The reference list includes numerous sources on the topic, predominantly research articles that are mostly written in the XXI century. The authors have chosen studies that were conducted on both the national and the local levels, including the poorest states in the country. As the authors mention in the introductions, there is little information about the link between obesity rates and family income. Thus, this article can serve as a base for future research work both in the fields of national healthcare and the country’s economy and its effect on American society.
As has been mentioned earlier, the issue is relevant to the current situation in American society. Both private and governmental sector takes efforts to improve the situation by promoting a healthy lifestyle and introducing meal programs for children in educational institutions. The issue with pre-school children is especially serious since many of them do not attend kindergartens and eat at home, thus being fully dependent on their parents’ ability to serve healthy meals. Introducing the Simply Dinner program to low-income families is a way to not only improve the children’s health state temporarily but also to give a start to the right nutrition practices among their parents.
The research type described in the article is fully experimental. As the authors state, the experiment contained five cycles of eight weeks that engaged different families on each stage. The Simply Dinner program included six intervention models that focused on providing different meal support levels to the study’s families. There was the meal delivery, the ingredient delivery, the community kitchen, the didactic healthy eating lessons, the cooking demonstrations, and the cookware provision. Each intervention was different regarding the financial input and the resources required for providing meals regularly. The authors collected information both before the experiment and after it. The design of the experiment aligns with the theory that teaching families how to cook can increase the awareness of healthy eating among their children and will influence their food choices in the future. Thus, the experiment combined not only economic and medical factors but also psychological traits.
The experiment was large regarding the size of the chosen population and the costs spent on the Simply Dinner program implementation, yet there were limits to the uniqueness of the study groups. All participants came from the state of Michigan and belonged to the Head Start (HS) program. HS is a governmental initiative for supporting children aged from three to five years old that come from families with low income. As the experiment is still in process, it is difficult to evaluate the final size of the chosen population. The authors mention that they aim to receive 125 participants in each group. There are several limitations to the sampling process, including children’s health issues preventing them from normal nutrition and the inabilities of families to speak English.
There are no particular results of the experiment yet. Apart from the process description, there is only the hypothesis that healthy eating can form essential behavior for the future life of children from low-income families. This is a governmental project that aims to determine the best practices that should be funded in the future compared to the existing ones. While this initiative seems reasonable, it can only be implemented on the governmental level. It is quite unlikely that families who suffer from poverty will change their nutrition habits based on this program. Food delivery will most likely be a temporary relief to this category of people. Healthy products cost a lot of money, especially when it is not a season for fresh fruit and vegetables. Thinking that obese people eat a lot is a stereotype, and the problem usually lies in the quality of food they can afford.
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In my opinion, the study does not have the best sampling method. For instance, the description states that Michigan is chosen as the location for this experiment. However, there is no explanation for the reasoning for this decision. Besides, the article mentions that the HS program includes families, half of which are Caucasian. At the same time, this category faces fewer problems with getting a decent job than people of other racial or ethnic backgrounds.
The writing of the article is very clear and understandable to the general public. Readers can easily identify the main objectives of the study and to analyze the strength of the theoretical background. There is also a very detailed description of intervention procedures and how they will be implemented in the study groups. All information about the research design is grounded and explained based on the previous studies or national health guidelines that can be accessed by ordinary people that are interested in the subject.
The only difficulty is to evaluate the clarity of quantitative methods that are offered at the end of the article. It is hard to tell whether the chosen approach will work due to the lack of data from the experiment. If the discussed formulas for calculating the Simply Dinner program’s effectiveness were applied to the existing data, it would be easier to evaluate their accuracy and clarity.
The article implies that the research is still to be conducted in the field. However, the authors mention that it will be useful for funding future governmental decisions regarding nutrition practices. This field of application calls for in-depth research on the nation’s economic conditions and whether it would be reasonable to spend the country’s budget on such programs. Moreover, the role of nurses in supporting healthy eating behavior should be also studied further to determine whether they can significantly influence the problem among poor families.
The article raises a very important question of the link between child obesity rates and eating habits in low-income families. The authors rely on a very grounded theory that economic factors are among the primary ones that influence the quality of nutrition. However, the article does not yield any practical results at this point, and there are certain issues to its design like the quality of sample auditory.
Brophy-Herb, H. E., Horodynski, M., Contreras, D., Kerver, J., Kaciroti, N., Stein, M., … Lumeng, J. C. (2017). Effectiveness of differing levels of support for family meals on obesity prevention among Head Start preschoolers: The Simply Dinner study. BMC Public Health, 17(1), 1-11. Web.
Healthy People 2020. (n. d.). Nutrition and weight status. Web.