Obesity is a medical condition that has been on the rise since the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Obesity is a global concern but it affects specific areas, which has raised concern on the control measures, for instance, Jewish children. Obesity is a problem in the Jewish community, and those affected are children. Several medical research activities have been conducted with the aim of finding an amicable solution to this medical challenge. The Jewish community is technologically well informed; this has contributed to the use of technology to solve the obesity problem. Technological use, especially web-based technology has demonstrated positive outcomes by decreasing childhood obesity.
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According to Leninger’s cultural model, communities must preserve culture and make changes when necessary. Therefore, the Jewish community should preserve their culture of restricting consumption of food rich in milk and meat, and make amends to allow female children participate in physical activities to control and reduce obesity. This paper explores the significance of using web-based technological approach in combating obesity among the Jewish children. It has been noted that if this technology is applied in the right way, it is highly likely to reduce instances of obesity among Jewish children.
Childhood obesity has become an international problem for the past decades (Benjamins, Whitman & Shah 2010). Previous medical research activities on obesity among children in the globe revealed that more than 3 million children are diagnosed with obesity in their early life (Benjamins, Whitman & Shah 2010). Seeking various solutions to resolve this problem is one of the major areas of focus for many research studies that are being conducted in Europe, United States of America and other countries. Recent medical research on obesity among children by the United States Center of Disease Control, have suggested the use of web-based programs as one of the methods to solve this problem, since positive outcomes in the reduction of childhood obesity are easily attained with this method (Kachel, Henry & Keller, 2006). This paper discusses how web-based technologies maybe used to control and reduce obesity and its negative effects among the Jewish children.
Modern children are popularly referred to as the generation ‘Y’ due to the increased technological use and knowledge. Technology is commonly used in several ways, such as education, communication and leisure time among others. Furthermore, there are technological or online-based games and sports. This has contributed to the increased use of technology among children. Increased technological use among children has led to decreased physical activities. Jewish children use technology in their daily life activities, which has contributed to the increased number of obese Jewish children (Antwi ‘et al’, 2013). Review of the research on the ‘effectiveness of web-based technology to reduce childhood obesity’ reveals that although technology contributes to obesity among children, web-based technology can be effectively used by families to reduce obesity among children.
This paper adopts the arguments presented in the research, ‘effectiveness of web-based technology to reduce childhood obesity’ to present, and develop realistic arguments based on using culturally sensitive web-based programs to reduce childhood obesity among Jewish children (Tudor-Locke & Myers, 2007).
Obesity among children has been declared as an international disaster. The number of obese children has been increasing over the past years. This has led to the adoption of different strategies of controlling obesity among children in early life. Obesity among Jewish children has been a challenge and different suggestions have been made. According to statistics in the United States of America obtained from the research conducted by Ogden, Carroll and Flegal (2008), there has been an increasing trend in the number of obese Jewish children. This is due to the number of obese Jewish children in schools. This has also compromised life status of Jewish children, especially school going children (National Association for Sport and Physical Education, 2007).
Controlling obesity among Jewish children is effective only in schools. Schools are more concerned with the health status of children, which has led to the adoption of different strategies towards the reduction of obesity among Jewish children in schools. Several schools in the United States have adopted effective and appropriate strategies towards the reduction of obesity among children, which has contributed to obesity reduction (Taylor ‘et al’, 2006. However, Jewish schools have been unlucky to develop strategies that can assist in the reduction of obesity among children according to the research conducted by Benjamins, and Whitman. This has led to the increased number of obese Jewish children. Furthermore, research conducted by Ogden, Carroll and Flegal (2008) has also revealed that the number of obese Jewish children has been systematically increasing over the years. The increment in the number of obese Jewish children is illustrated in the table below.
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|Years or period||1963-1970||1971-1974||1976-1980||1988-1994||1999-2000||2001-2002||2003-2004|
|Percentage representing the obese||4.2%||4%||6.5%||11.3%||15.1%||16.3%||18.8%|
The table representing the percentage of Jewish obese children between the age of 6 and 11
|Years or period||1963-1970||1971-1974||1976-1980||1988-1994||1999-2000||2001-2002||2003-2004|
|Percentage representing the obese||4.6%||6.1%||5%||10.5%||14.8%||16.7%||17.4%|
The table representing the percentage of Jewish obese children between the age of 12 and 16
Source: Ogden, Carroll and Flegal (2008)
Lack of adequate measures to control obesity among Jewish children in schools has led to decrease in the quality of life among the Jewish children. Obesity poses several health risks to children, which may lead to death. Obesity can lead to attack of diseases such as heart failure, high blood pressure and diabetes among others. It is believed that obesity is mainly caused by the consumption of food with contents of fats. Consumption of food that contain high amounts of fatty nutrients leads to the absorption of high amount, which cannot be used by the body hence being deposited in the body as fats, which leads to unusual weight gain among children (Stephanidis, 2011). The eating patterns of Jewish children are also a major contributor to the increased number of obese children. Most Jewish children rely on fast foods, especially those going to school. This has led to the increased number of obese children, and has been a blow to the strategies of controlling obesity among Jewish children in schools (Thompson, 2008).
Consumption of fast food is not harmful to health. However, Jewish children consume large quantities of fast food, which is not healthy because they contain many fats. Furthermore, Jewish children do not concentrate on physical activities, which have led to low effort to burn the large quantities of fats they consume (Oblender, 2010). Therefore, the increased cases of obesity among the Jewish children have been due to the increased consumption of fast foods, lack of physical activities because they concentrate on technological use during their leisure time and uncontrolled eating habits (National Health Information, 2008).
The research conducted by Nagel (2008) suggests that obesity is a global concern, and millions of children are affected. Obesity also affects the Jewish children. According to the research conducted by Nagel (2008), 25% of obese children in the United States are Jewish. Furthermore, the data presented by the National Center for Health Statistics revealed that most children in the United States are obese, and the figure has been increasing over the past thirty years. Moreover, the number of obesity related health complications and deaths have been increasing over the years. Twenty-eight percent of the Jewish children are overweight, while 26% are obese (O’Dea & Eriksen, 2010). Jewish children are vulnerable to obesity more than other children in the United States. This is due to the eating habits, and excessive technological use among others.
Causes of obesity
Obesity has been declared a national disaster in the United States. This is due to the increasing number of obesity related health complications and deaths among children. There are several factors that cause obesity, for instance, increased consumption of fast food, fatty food, and lack of physical exercises and adoption of poor lifestyles among others. Although there are several factors that lead to child obesity, the key factors are lack of physical exercises and poor eating habits. These are the major causes of obesity among Jewish children (Ogden ‘et al’, 2006).
The Jews have a different dietary, behavioral and belief system that differentiates them from other population in the United States. This is the main reason for the difference in the eating habits of the Jewish children and other children in the United States. The Jews had a belief that food should be cooked in homes, and not purchased. This contributed to the disciplined and choice consumption of food among the Jewish in the early years. However, this was broken by the Jewish children, especially those going to school. The factor that led to the change in the lifestyle and eating habits of the Jewish children is the excessive use of technology, which exposed them to fast food, and fats among others. The Jewish culture did not permit consumption of meat rich foods. Fast foods are mainly manufactured using meat products. These contents lead to the absorption of excessive fats in the body, which is deposited as fats and lead to abnormal weight gain (Lobstein & Dibb, 2008).
The Jewish children of school going age are obese because they do not exercise regularly despite consuming large quantities of fats and fast foods. Consumption of large quantities of fast foods and fats requires regular physical exercise to burn. However, Jewish restrict physical exercise among females. This has contributed to the increased number of obese female Jewish children (Leuf & Cunningham, 2007). The Jews do not allow female to participate in any form of physical exercise, which has led to the increased number of obese female Jewish children. Physical exercise requires children to wear clothes or costumes that can enable them move during physical exercising. However, Females are not allowed to wear clothes such as short skirts and trousers, which are mostly used as physical exercise attires (Katz ‘et al’, 2008).
The Jewish does not allow or permit participation in activities such as physical exercises on weekends because they are considered religious days. Most Jewish children are school going, especially those affected by obesity. It is during weekends that children can engage in physical activities because weekends are not school going days (Pinto ‘et al’, 2007). However, the Jewish children are not in a position to participate in physical activities on these days. This has affected the participation of Jewish children in physical activities, which has also contributed to the increasing number of obese children because they are not able to burn excess body fats effectively.
Although some Jewish children engage in physical exercises in school, it is not adequate because the physical exercise session in schools is not adequate to burn fats effectively (Kachel, Henry & Keller, 2006). On the other hand, some are not able to engage in physical exercises during the week of their free time because they spend leisure time using technology. Technological use among children has increased over the years due to increased technological awareness and internet subscriptions among families (Ogden ‘et al’, 2008). Technological use has also led to the introduction of electronic learning, which has enabled the establishment of online classes. Some Jewish children learn online, which has led to increased use of technology, and led to increased obesity because they have no free time to participate in physical activities (Institute of Medicine Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children and Youth, 2009).
Obesity is a major problem affecting Jewish children. The Jewish obese children represent the highest number of obese group in the United States of America. The increased number of obesity related health complications and deaths have affected the quality of life among Jewish children. The cause that has contributed highly to the increased obesity among the Jewish children is the increased technological knowledge and use. Therefore, this can be the same factor used to control obesity among Jewish children in the United States and globally. There are several ways that we-based technology can be used to control obesity among Jewish children in the United States of America and globally (An ‘et al’, 2009).
The Jewish children were aware of fast foods through the use of online sites and resources. There are several resources provided online on the benefits of fast foods, which were easily accessed by the Jewish children, especially those going to school. The same technology should be used to provide information on the how to control obesity. Web-based technology should be used to provide information that can be easily accessed by the Jewish children on the methods that can be used to control obesity (Gruwell, 2007). Information on the importance of participating in physical exercises can be availed online for easy access. This can lead in the control of obesity among Jewish children. Lack of physical activity is a cause of obesity among Jewish children. Although their culture does not encourage participation in physical exercises or activities, especially female children, availing the importance of participating in physical activity or exercise can assist to increase participation in physical activities, especially female children (Graves, Ridgers & Stratton, 2008).
Jewish children have no culture of participating in physical activities, which might make it difficult for them to participate in relevant physical exercises that can be used to control obesity or that can lead to weight loss (Richmond ‘et al’, 2006). This information should also be provided online to enable the Jewish children learn the effective physical activities that they can participate in to control weight or enhance weight loss. Therefore, availing information online on the importance of physical activity participation and relevant physical activities can be used to control obesity among the Jewish children (Freedman ‘et al’, 2009).
The information provided online on fast foods can also be expanded to include the disadvantages of the consuming large quantities of fast foods. Fast foods are not harmful but can lead to obesity if consumed in large quantities. Jewish children consume large quantities of fast foods, which has contributed to the high number of obese Jewish children (Richardson ‘et al’, 2006). This can be controlled using the web-based technology through expansion of the online information on fast foods. Furthermore, information on the best quality fast foods can be availed online to enlighten the Jewish children on the best fast foods to consume (Finkelstein ‘et al’, 2009). This is an effective and appropriate way to control obesity among Jewish children through the web-based technology because most Jewish children used technology during their leisure. Therefore, availing information on the effects of consumption of large amounts of fast foods, advantages of physical exercises, and the best quality fast foods among others on the internet can be adequate to control obesity among Jewish children (Dietz ‘et al’, 2007).
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Implications for school health
Obesity is common among school going children in the United States. Therefore, parents and institutions should involve schools in obesity control. Schools can assist in controlling obesity by applying web based technology, which a strategy that may control obesity. Technology is used in schools, therefore, institution personnel may recommend sites such as spark teen, my plate, and spark people, which are free and government sites. Clinicians may be informed to add medical contents on the websites on obesity for children to read hence assist in obesity control (Dietz ‘et al’, 2007).
Web based technology may assist in the reduction and control of obesity. Several strategies may be used to expose Jewish children to medical information on obesity control based online, for instance, encouraging teachers to introduce online lessons during general knowledge, which could enable Jewish children read about obesity. There are several websites that provide information on obesity that Jewish teachers may find useful, for example, spark people, spark teen and my plate. Cultural preservation is important. Therefore, the Jewish community need to preserve their culture of restraining or controlling consumption of food containing milk and meat, which could lead to controlled or decreased consumption of fast food among the Jewish children hence reduce and control obesity.
Obesity is a problem that is facing most Jewish children in the United States. There are several causes of obesity among the Jewish children such as consumption of large quantities of fast foods, lack of exercises and poor lifestyles among others. Obesity may lead to deaths or other health effects such as high blood pressure, heart failure and impotence among others. The eating habits of the Jewish children have been affected by their culture and use of technology. However, the same technology can be used to control obesity effectively among the Jewish children by availing relevant information on the importance of physical activities or exercises, effects of consuming large quantities of fast foods, relevant exercises that can be used to control weight and best quality fast foods that have no adverse health effects. Therefore, the strategy of using we-based technology to control and reduce obesity requires cultural review of the Jewish community, involvements of parents and reminding children on the effects of unhealthy eating habits.
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