Obesity in children is one of the major health problems affecting many communities. Stang and Loth (2011) indicate that the prevalence of obesity in young children has been on the rise within the past two decades. Scholars have been focusing on the major issues associated with obesity. For instance, some studies have argued that there is a relationship between increased calorie intake and obesity (Waters et al., 2014).
Some factors such as human behaviors, genetic compositions, and environmental forces have also been associated with diabetes. Ho et al. (2012) argue that psychological, social, and physical health issues can result in childhood obesity. Within the past three decades, different communities have been on the frontline to identify new strategies that can deal with childhood obesity (Kruk, Kortekaas, Lucas, & Jager-Wittenaar, 2013). Many campaigns and societal programs have been put in place in an attempt to address the problem of childhood obesity in different populations. This literature review presents the major social actions and family-based interventions that have been in use to address the problem of obesity in children.
Obesity is one of the risk factors for diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Obese children have higher chances of recording poor academic performance and well-being (Waters et al., 2014). Prevention of this condition has remained a priority for many healthcare institutions, governments, and international organizations. Many analysts have indicated clearly that governments, families, and communities can collaborate in order to deal with this health problem. The implementation of appropriate campaigns to deal with obesity is a common practice embraced by many communities (Rudolf, 2016). However, the current information is inadequate thus making it impossible for many families to address the problem of obesity.
Review of Literature
A number of interventions have been employed by different governments and societies to deal with obesity. A study by Ho et al. (2012) indicated that the use of home-based campaigns was critical towards supporting the nutritional needs of many children. Health-based programs also made it easier for more children below the age of fourteen to embrace the power of balanced diets. Similar studies have indicated that the use of carefully-designed programs to improve the nutritional intake of many students.
However, the use of such programs has been characterized by a number of challenges. For instance, obese children are usually discriminated against and stigmatized thus being hard for them to support the campaigns (Karnik & Kanekar, 2015). This challenge was observed to explain why the problem of obesity continued to affect more people in the country.
Financial constraints have affected the success of many home-based campaigns. Many families lack the relevant finances and resources to support the campaigns. Consequently, most of the campaigns fail to support the diverse needs of more children (Ho et al. (2012). The inclusion of healthcare organizations was seen as a powerful strategy towards supporting such campaigns. However, the lack of coordination in different communities was observed to affect the success of such programs.
The government has been collaborating with different agencies to address the issue of obesity in children (Karnik & Kanekar, 2015). Some of these agencies have been presenting various policies and campaigns to address the problem of obesity in different families. However, the government’s inability to offer safe environments for more children affects the success of such preventative programs. Bayles (2010) indicated that it was necessary for different healthcare organizations to be involved in each and every program. This approach can empower more parents to support the health needs of their children.
Campaigns focusing on physical exercises were found to support the health needs of many children (Bayles, 2010). Past studies have indicated that communities can provide new interventions and guidelines to ensure more children engage in a wide range of physical exercises. Sustainable measures and inclusion of physical exercises to deal with obesity were supported by many scholars (Rudolf, 2016). The practice was observed to make it easier for obese children to reduce weight and realize their goals. Bayles (2010) argued that parents could be equipped with the relevant skills and resources in order to support the needs of their children.
The use of healthy lifestyle programs can support the diverse needs of different children. Such programs can be supported, monitored, and implemented by parents. Pioneers of such campaigns indicate that parents should design powerful initiatives to ensure their children lead healthy lifestyles. A study by Bayles (2010) indicated that parents should be trained and guided in order to understand the health issues faced by their children.
Such parents would possess the best competencies to guide and support to their respective children. A family-based approach towards dealing with the problem of obesity can deliver positive results and support the health needs of more children. Similar views have been presented by different authors. Karnik and Kanekar (2015) indicate that empowered or trained parents can find it easier to reshape the lifestyles and eating habits of their children.
Campaigns focusing on the feeding behaviors of children have been proposed in the recent past by many researchers. For instance, responsive feeding is a practice that has delivered positive results in many communities (Karnik & Kanekar, 2015). Families and learning institutions promoting positive mealtimes were observed to record reduced cases of obesity. Good eating behaviors can play a positive role in dealing with the problem of obesity.
The role of practitioners and guardians is something that has not been ignored by previous researchers. For instance, nurse practitioners (NPs) have been found to offer useful tips towards dealing with the problem of obesity (Rudolf, 2016). Nutritionists can guide children and their families in order to engage in healthy eating habits. Families that seek the skills and views of different professionals find it easier to achieve their health goals. Children who are guided “to model appropriate lifestyle can reduce their weights within a short period” (Rudolf, 2016, p. 16).
Stang and Loth (2011) support the importance of balancing sleep and play. According to scholars, parents and teachers should always encourage their children to engage in active play (Stang & Loth, 2011). Sedentary behaviors can be discouraged in an attempt to address this health problem. Children should be guided to sleep for eight hours (Stang & Loth, 2011). By so doing, the children will develop healthy bodies and eventually achieve their academic goals. Parents and guardians should collaborate with their children in order to achieve the best goals.
Rudolf (2016) indicates that governments should outline new policies to minimize cases of obesity. Effective government policies can guide different stakeholders, agencies, and healthcare practitioners to implement the most desirable programs. The intervention methods for obesity should also be sustainable. Most of the sustainable programs recorded within the past two decades have managed to address the problem of obesity (Kruk et al., 2013). This is the case because such projects encourage more children to engage in healthy behaviors. The campaigns should “be executed throughout the lifespan” (Rudolf, 2016, p. 24). This fact explains why children and adults should be engaged in different exercises. Such physical exercises can make it easier for more children to have healthy bodies.
Rudolf (2016) proposes another model that is capable of dealing with obesity in children. The model outlines various practices that have the potential to deliver positive results. The first consideration is guiding every family to design an appropriate program characterized by healthy eating habits (Rudolf, 2016). The food materials consumed by children should be balanced and healthy. Relatives and parents can be trained in order to implement sustainable health promotion models (Stang & Loth, 2011). The support provided by parents can play a critical role in dealing with the problem of obesity in children.
Implications for Future Research
The current literature outlines a wide range of practices that can address the problem of obesity in children. Most of the proposed campaigns have managed to deliver positive results (Stang & Loth, 2011). However, few studies have focused on the best approaches towards developing sustainable obesity prevention campaigns. Similarly, few types of research have examined the role of parents towards preventing obesity.
The practice of educating parents in order to support their children’s lifestyles has not received much attention (Kruk et al., 2013). That being the case, the proposed study will focus on the provision of health education to parents and guardians. The study will go further to examine how newly-acquired skills can make it easier for more parents to address the problem of obesity in young children.
Bayles, B. (2010). Perceptions of childhood obesity on the Texas-Mexico border. Public Health Nursing, 27(4), 320-328.
Ho, M., Garnett, P., Baur, L., Burrows, T., Stewart, L., & Collins, C. (2012). Effectiveness of lifestyle interventions in child obesity: systematic review with meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 130(6), 1-8.
Karnik, S., & Kanekar, A. (2015). Childhood obesity: a global public health crisis. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 3(1), 1-7.
Kruk, J., Kortekaas, F., Lucas, C., & Jager-Wittenaar, H. (2013). Obesity: a systematic review on parental involvement in long-term European childhood weight control interventions with a nutritional focus. Obesity Reviews, 14(9), 745-760.
Rudolf, M. (2016). Tackling obesity through the healthy child program: a framework for action. National Obesity Observatory, 1(1), 1-57.
Stang, J., & Loth, A. (2011). Parenting style and child feeding practices: potential mitigating factors in the etiology of childhood obesity. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 111(9), 1301-1305.
Waters, E., de Silva-Sanigorski, A., Burford, B., Brown, T., Campbell, K., Gao, Y.,…Summerbell, C. (2014). Interventions for preventing obesity in children. Sao Paulo Medical Journal, 132(2), 128-129.