Childhood obesity remains a complex, multilayered issue that can be caused and exacerbated by a variety of factors. The relationship between parental education and childhood obesity is considered an environmental factor. However, it does not account for a series of extraneous variables that can impact the child’s health and psychological state in the modern world. There may be a genetic predisposition that can dramatically influence metabolism and therefore increase susceptibility to childhood obesity. Behavioral factors such as a sedentary lifestyle are closely interconnected with environmental influences that impact children outside of the home. For example, if a school encourages unhealthy snacking, lacks proper recess or physical education programs, or gives copious amounts of homework, the child has little control over the sedentary lifestyle (Karnik & Kanekar, 2012). These variables can be controlled through careful sample selection. Participants would have to participate in questionnaires to eliminate the possibilities of predisposed health issues or outside influences that directly cause obesity. Such tactics will help focus the experiment specifically on the child-parent relationship without the apparent distortions of uncontrollable variables.
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To maximize the sensitivity of the experiment to the domains that are vital to childhood obesity prevention, a dual assessment is used to record results. Child health information is taken by recording the anthropometric variables such as body measurements and the body-mass-index. Meanwhile, a questionnaire checklist is given to parents to evaluate specific behaviors and actions that are modified to maximize their influence on the child’s lifestyle (Natale et al., 2013).
Both instruments can be described as valid. BMI is considered a universally appropriate indicator to evaluate healthy weight and measure the presence of unnecessary body fat without the need to perform diagnostic studies. The reliability of the BMI-index has potential inconsistencies, particularly in children. Due to rapid and varying development for different individuals, BMI levels may fluctuate based on height and the degree of sexual maturation. Children whose BMI index falls between the 85th and 94th percentiles for the age group can have elevated measurements due to fat-free mass which cannot be easily distinguished from body fat (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). The checklist is a reliable measure of determining the impact of parent behavior and influence within a household. However, reliability may decline since the questionnaire is self-reported, resulting in possible discrepancies.
The intervention will seek to address the research question, “Does parent education about a healthy lifestyle increase the positive outcomes and prevention of childhood obesity compared with medical treatment?”. Therefore, the intervention will consist of a parent education program that seeks to educate about an active lifestyle, diet, the process of metabolism, and parenting strategies. Sessions will be conducted over several weeks to allow parents to gradually implement any lifestyle changes in the household. Parents will also be given a chance to talk with professional dieticians, child health professionals, and psychologists about individual issues. Families will also be given packets with the information. As a result, the intervention program is comprehensive in covering the most fundamental aspects of parent education.
Both the measurements and the checklist should be conducted before the experiment, after the completion of the intervention, and at the end to evaluate the progression and effectiveness of the independent variable. Data from the measurements will be collected into a table and evaluated using regressional analysis. Questionnaires with the checklist will be put into a computer application which will have preprogrammed parameters on recognizing which behavior points should have been impacted by the intervention and compared to initial results.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.) Body mass index: Considerations for Practitioners. Web.
Karnik, S., & Kanekar, A. (2012). Childhood obesity: A global public health crisis. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 3(1), 1-7. Web.
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Natale, R., Scott, S., Messiah, S., Schrack, M., Uhlhorn, S., & Delamater, A. (2013). Design and methods for evaluating an early childhood obesity prevention program in the childcare center setting. BMC Public Health, 13(78). Web.