Researchers have extensively investigated the topic of childhood obesity to come up with appropriate solutions to this growing issue and find evidence in support of the proposed intervention. This section will present a literature review of relevant studies on childhood obesity, summarizing different approaches, and comparing their effectiveness in the context of improving children’s health through the reduction of obesity rates.
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Role of Parents
Kelishadi and Azizi-Soleiman (2014) conducted a systematic review of strategies associated with the reduction of childhood obesity to propose an intervention program that would have a long-term effect on a large group of obese children. The researchers concluded that parents played a critical role in the control and development of children’s behaviors, which pointed to the need of involving them in health-oriented interventions. It was revealed that clinic-based interventions were extremely favorable; varying from lifestyle changes (e.g., increasing physical activities, balanced diet) to behavioral therapy, they brought positive results in the reduction of childhood obesity (Kelishadi & Azizi-Soleiman, 2014). The role of parents in such interventions was critical.
A different approach to the one described above was presented by Pandita et al. (2016), who suggested that the effective management of childhood obesity could be accomplished through prevention strategies. Such strategies had to include an array of prevention mechanisms that made children and their parents emphasized healthy lifestyle choices. For example, the researchers proposed the following prevention interventions:
- Controlling target behaviors such as logs of physical activity and dietary choices;
- Monitoring stimuli to reduce environmental factors that add to the unhealthy choices of children and their parents;
- Goal-setting for choosing healthy behaviors over other lifestyle preferences;
- Giving rewards for reaching the target activity and nutrition objectives;
- Providing positive reinforcements for positive lifestyle choices (Pandita et al., 2016).
Based on the information presented above, the effective prevention strategies to reduce the occurrence of childhood obesity are based on positive reinforcements of healthy behaviors and the establishment of strategies that target the achievement of exemplary lifestyles for children and their parents. These suggestions can be used in conjunction with that of Kelishadi and Azizi-Soleiman (2014) for establishing a childhood obesity management and prevention program for dealing with this adverse health problem.
While the previous two approaches focused on the encouragement of positive behaviors and the role of parents in the management of childhood obesity, the need for clinical interventions should also be discussed. Sharifi et al. (2017) explored the cost-effectiveness of clinical childhood obesity interventions. Such interventions have predominantly included the use of electronic health records for the management and change of parents’ and their children’s self-guided behaviors to maintain a healthy BMI. Compared to previously introduced clinical interventions, the use of electronic health records was found to be more cost-efficient for the healthcare system as well as individual families. Importantly, the researchers suggested that such clinical interventions could be used in conjunction with prevention strategies established on a level of population for accelerating work in the reduction of childhood obesity occurrence.
It can be concluded that interventions targeted at the management of obesity could be applied through the use of different approaches. Additionally, prevention of obesity is another effective tool for not allowing children to make unhealthy lifestyle and diet choices and thus developing obesity altogether.
Kelishadi, R., & Azizi-Soleiman, F. (2014). Controlling childhood obesity: A systematic review of strategies and challenges. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences: The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 19(10), 993-1008.
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Pandita, A., Sharma, D., Pandita, D., Pawar, S., Tariq, M., & Kaul, A. (2016). Childhood obesity: Prevention is better than cure. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, 9, 83-89.
Sharifi, M., Franz, C., Horan, C., Giles, C., Long, M., Ward, Z.,…Taveras, E. (2017). Cost-effectiveness of a clinical childhood obesity intervention. Pediatrics, 140(5), 1-9.