Childhood Obesity as a Topic for Academic Studies

Topic Description

Childhood obesity is an issue of great public health concern globally. A higher than normal body mass index (BMI) in children is a diagnosis of this condition. Obesity in childhood has multiple causes and is associated with a variety of health risks. The primary etiologies include unhealthy dietary behavior, inadequate physical activity levels, and genetics (CDC, 2016). The debate on childhood obesity revolves around effective interventions to reduce the predisposing factors. As such, a myriad of public health programs exist, which focus on healthier school meals, lifestyle behavior modification, parental/community involvement, etc. These interventions have achieved variable levels of success because, in my opinion, they are fragmented and uncoordinated. They exclusively focus on children and ignore other critical actors – including parents, peers, the media, etc. – that influence childhood behavior. Integrated efforts to tackle the physical, social, and economic aspects of the child’s environment could result in better outcomes.

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Research Questions

The ideas stated above will be developed using the following research questions:

  1. How effective are the current public health interventions in decreasing childhood obesity in the US?
  2. Which socioeconomic factors increase the obesity risk in children?
  3. Which class disparities exist in childhood obesity prevalence?
  4. How might multidisciplinary approaches and partnerships between various actors promote childhood obesity outcomes?
  5. What are the public health consequences of the childhood obesity problem?

Research Purpose

Childhood obesity is an important topic for the academic inquiry to address gaps in policy interventions. In spite of sustained policy efforts aimed at achieving lower BMI in children, the obesity problem continues to persist. Thus, an examination of this topic is required to bolster the scientific evidence that will inform the formulation and adoption of better interventions. I can personally relate to the problem of childhood obesity having had obese relatives and friends as a child. It was such a pity seeing them struggle with breathing difficulties, anxiety, low self-esteem, and bullying, which affected their grades and social lives.

By writing about the childhood obesity issue, I will gain insights into the known risk factors, lifestyle recommendations and programs, and examples of multidisciplinary initiatives. I would want readers to understand why the childhood obesity problem continues to persist in spite of multiple public policy interventions. I would like families, schools, peers, policymakers, and media outlets to collaborate on tackling the underlying biological, cultural, and socioeconomic factors that increase the obesity risk in children.

Preliminary Research

Childhood obesity is associated with various physical and psychosocial health complications. It increases the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, respiratory conditions, adult obesity risk, etc. (Caballero, Vorkoper, Anand, & Rivera, 2017). Its psychosocial consequences may include low self-esteem, bullying, and low quality of life. Policy interventions for this problem often include lifestyle changes – diet and physical activity – at a personal, school, and community levels (Pandita et al., 2016). This information is provided in the academic summaries of the two articles below.

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. Web.

This article argues that given the implications of childhood obesity on the public health care system, novel interventions are required to address this problem. The key subtopics examined include obesity, its diagnosis and prevention, reasons to address overweight in children, behavior therapy, and current pediatric therapies. An example of the obesity-reduction interventions implemented with obese children that is described in the article is the Biofeedback Enhanced Lifestyle Intervention. Under this program, children are trained to feed only when hungry (i.e., when blood glucose is <85 mg/dL). Another technique described is the traffic light diet that prescribes the low-calorie food that should be consumed in plenty (Green), those to be eaten in moderation (Yellow), and those to be avoided (Red).

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Caballero, B., Vorkoper, S., Anand, N., & Rivera, J. A. (2017). Preventing childhood obesity in Latin America: An agenda for regional research and strategic partnerships. Obesity Reviews, 18(S2), 3-6. Web.

The main argument in this article is that effective strategies to curb childhood obesity involve multidisciplinary collaborations. The critical issues addressed include partnerships in the public health sector and their significance in preventing childhood obesity. The article gives an example (case study) of an obesity prevention initiative – the NIH Fogarty International Center workshop. This multi-sector collaboration brought together various healthcare professionals, NIH institutes, and policymakers to set cohesive evidence-based policies for obesity prevention in Latin America.

Primary Audience

My target readers primarily include policymakers, pediatric health providers, teachers, media owners, and guardians/parents raising obese children. The characteristic of this multidisciplinary audience is that it comprises of people directly or indirectly affected by the obesity problem. Their needs include preventing childhood obesity and reducing risk factors by promoting healthier lifestyles across different settings – home, school, etc. Their motivations for tackling this issue ranges from health budget implications of obesity-related complications (policymakers) to having a healthier future generation (guardians) with a high quality of life. The media, teachers, and parents influence the dietary/lifestyle habits and perceptions of young children. To appeal to the multi-level audience and convey a scholarly communication, the structure of my writing will include an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion.

Narrow Focus

The narrowed focus of this research is the effectiveness of policy initiatives that involve the socio-ecological approach in preventing childhood obesity. The unique angle provided through this study is that integrated strategies that address environmental factors at the individual, family, and community levels achieve higher efficacy in childhood obesity prevention than those that focus solely on basic lifestyle change. The multifaceted nature of this problem means that fragmented interventions cannot provide optimal results. My thesis is that public health programs based on the socio-ecological model – given their comprehensive and multidisciplinary nature – could give better weight reduction outcomes in children than school-based interventions.

References

Caballero, B., Vorkoper, S., Anand, N., & Rivera, J. A. (2017). Preventing childhood obesity in Latin America: An agenda for regional research and strategic partnerships. Obesity Reviews, 18(S2), 3-6. Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. (2016). Childhood obesity causes and consequences. Web.

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. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, July 10). Childhood Obesity as a Topic for Academic Studies. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/childhood-obesity-as-a-topic-for-academic-studies/

Work Cited

"Childhood Obesity as a Topic for Academic Studies." StudyCorgi, 10 July 2021, studycorgi.com/childhood-obesity-as-a-topic-for-academic-studies/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Childhood Obesity as a Topic for Academic Studies." July 10, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/childhood-obesity-as-a-topic-for-academic-studies/.


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StudyCorgi. "Childhood Obesity as a Topic for Academic Studies." July 10, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/childhood-obesity-as-a-topic-for-academic-studies/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2021. "Childhood Obesity as a Topic for Academic Studies." July 10, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/childhood-obesity-as-a-topic-for-academic-studies/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Childhood Obesity as a Topic for Academic Studies'. 10 July.

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