Fundamental Problems that Arise
According to many researchers, different factors directly affect the emergence of obesity. Children can have a genetic predisposition. Sometimes, the use of too high-calorie food is the cause of overweight. Also, a low level of physical activity negatively affects children’s health. All these problems are usually the main causes of obesity. Overweight is much more dangerous for children than for adults because it prevents the correct development of a growing body. Dysfunctioning of one or more organs can lead to a metabolic disorder (Davison et al., 2013).
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There is an opinion that the model of fat accumulation is associated with genetics and gender. Some scholars believe that a fat-preserving gene develops actively in people of a certain sex. (Waters et al., 2014). It is explained by the fact that fat on the abdomen more often accumulates in boys than in girls. Also, if a child is inactive, he or she has a delay in the formation of motor skills. Even in case of the absence of complaints, changes in various organs and systems are usually observed. According to Cunningham, Kramer, and Narayan (2014), children with obesity are more likely to have allergic reactions than other children; their adaptation processes are weak. Sometimes, during the adolescent period, such boys and girls lose weight; however, more often the disease progresses and may be accompanied by complications. The form of obesity is identified through a medical examination based on the development of the disease, hereditary factors, and symptoms accompanying obesity.
Consequences of Obesity
Obesity frightens parents and teachers by the emergence of complexes in the child-related to their appearance. Undoubtedly, it is quite a significant aspect of the issue. Nevertheless, first of all, the danger of obesity is that it provokes serious diseases. Indeed, under the influence of excess body weight, malfunctions of organs and systems occur, and existing metabolic disturbances emerge or worsen. Rather often, obesity is the result of severe chronic diseases, and the average life expectancy of obese people is eight-ten years lower than in people with a healthy weight. For children, obesity is much more dangerous than for adults as it prevents the correct development of a growing body. As Waters et al. (2014) claim, obesity can cause the formation of endocrine and skin illnesses, fatty liver disease, asthma, neurological problems, malfunctioning of the cardiovascular system and joints of the lower limbs and spine. The psychological issues of schoolchildren with overweight are often the reason for depression. Many of such boys and girls are in social isolation because of the sense of their inferiority.
Solutions and Recommendations
The treatment of obesity in childhood is fraught with many difficulties. Many medications are contraindicated for children; therefore, there can be no pharmacological methods for eliminating excess weight (Ogden, Carroll, Kit, &Flegal, 2014). At the same time, diets, a restriction in nutrition, a decrease in the caloric content of the child’s diet also hurt his or her health. This lifetime is a period of increased growth and the development and development of all body systems.
Compliance with Rational Nutrition and Training
A child needs to eat a certain amount of vitamins, minerals, fats, and carbohydrates. With a good health program, the daily caloric content of the diet decreases; the intake of easily digestible carbohydrates is excluded. During a low-calorie diet, children are usually prescribed vitamin therapy. Also, older boys and girls can take medications that reduce appetite (anorectics). Preference should be given to vegetables and fruits rather than products with a high content of sugar or cholesterol. Also, therapeutic exercises provide a good effect. The task of physical training is to increase metabolism. According to Ogden et al. (2014), cardiovascular and respiratory systems will work actively, reducing the pulse rate and dyspnea. A set of correctly chosen exercises will help to lose weight and increase the physical endurance of the child. Sport also contributes to forming healthy bones and muscles, as well as strengthens children’s nervous systems.
Innovations and Experience
According to Waters et al. (2014), the experience of different countries in the fight against childhood obesity shows that various modern methods of treatment have made significant progress in diagnosing and preventing this disease. For example, Cunningham et al. (2014) note that the prevention of the illness should be carried out among young children since this category is most at risk. Work in communities may be quite a successful way to explain to the child that his or her problem is not unique and can be solved. Chinese researchers suggest using “a family-based behavior treatment” (Sung-Chan, Sung, Zhao, & Brownson, 2013, p. 276). Davison et al. (2013) also consider that one of the best ways to solve this global issue is to encourage children and help them to overcome the problem of obesity.
Thus, childhood obesity can be significantly reduced through a public health intervention grounded in the socio-ecological model, in particular, parents’ active participation and children’s work in communities. The research methodology and information obtained from scientific sources make it possible to conclude that modern policymakers and healthcare specialists are regularly working to solve this problem. The experience of different countries shows the effectiveness of some approaches and testifies to attempts to help children get rid of obesity.
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One of the most effective interventions is the combination of dieting, physical activity, and therapy, which can also be supported by family involvement. Interventions that consist of one approach (e.g., physical activity) tend to be less effective than those with multiple approaches that focus on different domains of a child’s life. The advantage of such interventions is not only their direct influence on obesity rates but also their ability to address risk factors that lead to weight gain. Multiple risk factors appear with unregulated weight gain. Obesity is more dangerous to children as it prevents a healthy development of their body, resulting in various morbidities such as fatty liver disease, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Therefore, it has to be addressed at various levels.
The socio-ecological model can address this problem at the following levels: individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and societal. Depending on the level, different aspects of the child’s lifestyle are targeted; interpersonal level comprises relationships with parents and friends, while personal influence can include nutrition professionals such as dietitians. Interventions on different levels were proven to be effective, indicating that parental involvement can lead to even better outcomes. Therefore, obesity should be perceived as a complex problem that cannot rely on changes in a child’s behaviors only. Instead, a complex framework that will include children, parents, and communities is required to resolve the problem effectively.
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