Obesity Interventions and Nursing Contributions

Abstract

Detecting health problems that may affect children later in their adulthood is significantly worthwhile. Obesity is one such disease that begins during childhood and prevails all through to adulthood. This research paper reviews the literature on early childhood obesity interventions that can prevent the wide-spreading nature of the disease across Canada and the US. The study concludes that obesity is a great public health concern globally. Indeed, the approaches that address the problem have proven to be ineffective, creating the need to review existing literature on interventions. This paper reviews significant roles of nurses’ actions in replacing obesity with wellness. Addressing obesity requires complex prevention efforts to self-management to make sure that nurses increase their role in public health. Thus, the prevention of obesity through self-management of nurses will reduce health inequality gaps.

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Overweight and Obesity Prevalence

Overweight and obese prevalence

The enormity of obesity as a public health challenge makes it clear that we need a more focused and concerted approach to reducing the impact of unhealthy behaviors. Considering each encounter between nurses and the public as a public health issue makes nurses a powerful force in enabling these encounters. Stevens (2014) points out that obesity has risen dramatically over many countries, creating negative health and economic consequences. While many countries report slower rates of obesity prevalence, the rates are still rising in Canada and the US. Stevens (2014) emphasizes that reversing through interventions is often difficult, suggesting an urgent need to address obese levels in childhood. Addressing obesity requires complex prevention efforts to self-management to make sure that nurses increase their role in public health. Thus, the prevention of obesity through self-management of nurses will reduce health inequality gaps.

Nurses have a critical role in delivering good public health, especially by supporting self-care that focuses more on behavioral change (Stevens, 2014). Supporting self-management will affect clinical outcomes and the dependence of patents on health service in the long term. Thus, the leadership roles of nurses in disseminating advice for public health activities should play a key role in their existing public health roles. Although the self-management support by nurses is only springing up, nurses should explore the best approaches to making self-care a routine in care centers. Self-management support is the best approach to reducing the dependence of obese patients on health professionals. This will increase their self-being and control, thereby creating a more effective way of working.

Appraisal Synopsis

This literature review collated information on obesity patterns among adults in the United States and Canada. A critical appraisal identifies key documents that relate to a health issue and reviews evidence on valuable interventions (Brown, 2014). This literature review is policy-oriented and focuses on providing a comprehensive review of how to address obesity. The evidence used in this paper involves effective interventions that exist in literature searches and critical appraisals.

Search strategy

The literature review identified evidence of nurse interventions that effectively manage obesity. The search has been limited to the CINAHL database because the site comprehensively reflects international perspectives. This study laid a particular focus on studies that cover obesity within the United States and Canada. We extended the search from 2001 to 2014 with the aim of uncovering various interventions that point to widespread literature. Further, our search terms centered on ‘obesity,’ ‘physical activity, children and obesity,’ and ‘diabetes, interventions, and physical activity.’

Critical appraisal methods

The criteria for appraising the individual studies and reviews were developed from Brown’s (2014) ‘Evidence-based Nursing: The Research-Practice’ to assess whether the methodology used in the studies was relevant or rigorous. The critical appraisal criteria aided in assessing the identified journals comprehensively. The analysis synthesized systematic reviews from the CINAHL database that dwelt on intervention practices existing across the globe. The length of the interventions used in the reviews had significant variations that ranged from one week to six years. On the other hand, more breakdowns that are detailed took more than three months to one year. The reviews described various interventions that integrated policy, education, and parental involvement.

Study #1. Nursing research Study in the USA

Farajian, P., Panagiotakos, D., Risvasm G., Malisova, P. & Zampelas, A. (2014). Hierarchical analysis of dietary, lifestyle and family environment risk factors for childhood obesity: the GRECO study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 68, 1107–1112.

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According to Farajian, Panagiotakos, Risvasm, Malisova, & Zampelas (2014), facilitating public health advice aimed at preventing childhood obesity requires more than just effective intervention programs. An individual should start limiting or modifying risk factors and promoting protective habits at childhood. The authors carried out the present study to identify significant dietary and physical activity patterns of obese children. The study also identified the sedentary behaviors and parental influences with a direct link to overweight children. The cross-sectional study sampled Greek School children within the US. Farajian et al. (2014) state that the study conducted direct anthropometric measurements on 4552 children. The data also included the physical exercises and dietary habits of the children. The study then conducted direct anthropometric values from 2225 parents. The data on family involvement and perceptions were included. Central to the discussion was the role of nurses in providing comprehensive care that could alter the obesity patterns of this group.

The results of Farajian et al.’s (2014) study explored the complexities and challenges that these pose for healthcare providers. The study reveals that nurses understand the behavioral factors of obesity that can improve the health status of patients. Nurses have the ability to assist their patients through best practices that are aimed at achieving healthier lifestyles (Farajian et al., 2014). The study also reveals that nurses should serve obese patients by understanding the needs of patients. Farajian et al. (2014) further identify and recognize the parameters that directly link to childhood overweight and obesity. The authors emphasize that since sedentary lifestyles increase the chances of being overweight, empowering nurses to support self-management and care can address obesity-related issues. Last, the study identifies a worrying trend among most parents in their failure to recognize overweight or obesity.

Study #2. Nursing Research Study Non-USA

Towns, C., Cooke, M., Rysdale, L., & Wilk, P. (2014). Healthy Weights Interventions in Aboriginal Children and Youth: A review of Literature. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 75(3), 125-131.

Studies support the presence of higher obesity risks among Canadian Aboriginal youth and children (Towns, Cooke, Rysdale, & Wilk 2014). However, the absence of reviews on healthy weight interventions for Aboriginal youth created a void that this literature tries to fill. The search through peer-reviewed articles presented and evaluated healthy weight interventions for young Aborigines. The study reviewed seven interventions with the aim of identifying similar characteristics and evaluating designs and outcomes. The interventions were broad and focused on community programs targeting American Indians with only one serving the Aboriginal population.

However, a trend that was consistently absent was the role of nurses in providing comprehensive care that could help patients with self-management. Moreover, considerable reductions were absent among obese and overweight in all the published evaluations. Additionally, significant increase in physical activities was also absent in the evaluations. This evidence existed despite a few evaluations showing that the diets or nutritional knowledge of children had significant positive effects. Towns et al. (2014) concluded that the structural factors, which affect Aboriginal children’s health, hinder interventions from working out effectively. The implication is that additional evidence is required for interventions that target minorities in all of Canada’s geographic and cultural contexts.

Study #3. Nursing Research Study in the USA

Philips, K., Schieve, L., Visser, S., Boulet, S., Sharma, A., Kogan, M., Boyle, C., & Yeargin-Allsop, M. (2014). Prevalence and Impact of Unhealthy Weight in a National Sample of Adolescents with Autism and Other Learning and Behavioral Disabilities. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 10(1007), 1-12.

Philips et al. (2014) estimate the frequency of obese, overweight, and underweight in adolescents with developmental disabilities. These adolescents also include children with autism and behavioral development disabilities (DDs). Philips et al. (2014) gathered 9619 adolescents aged between twelve to seventeen years. This was achievable since the parents reported weight, DDs, and other health conditions in a public health survey. The researchers calculated BMIs, and used various percentiles to categorize obese, underweight, and overweight. The authors then developed mutually exclusive development disability subgroups whose outcome they compared with individuals without DD.

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A multivariable regression showed differences in the BMIs of autistic children and those with learning disorders among other DDs. The study included socio-demographic factors and birth weight as confounders (Philips et al., 2014). The estimates reflected the population of the US with higher indications of obesity and underweight among adolescents as compared to those without DDs. Philips et al. (2014) point out that most of the adolescents with nearly all developmental disabilities had increased obesity rates. The autism subgroup also had the highest prevalence of obesity. Obese adolescents also had increased chances of acquiring conditions and symptoms such as respiratory or neurological problems as compared to adolescents without DD or obesity. Estimates for most of the conditions were present among adolescents with a combination of obesity and DD(Philips et al., 2014).

Study #4-Nursing Research Study Non-USA

Rabbitt, A. & Coyne, I. (2012). Childhood obesity: nurses’ role in addressing the epidemic. British Journal of Nursing, 21(12), 731-735.

Nurses have a significant role in improving health services and protecting health. Rabbitt and Coyne’s (2012) study shows that nurses have a role in primary interventions to treat obesity. The study shows that nurses should be at the forefront of providing nutritional advice and offering strategies that could help patients reduce their calorie intake and increase physical activities. Nurses should use a whole-family approach because of the family’s role in changing the dietary patterns of children (Rabbitt & Coyne, 2012). Nurses are also better positioned to contribute significantly to achieving balance between causal factors of obesity to make sure that future generations live better lives than today’s generation. Thus, nurses should engage multi-disciplinary teams in tackling childhood obesity. The views of nurses on childhood obesity could guide publicly accepted intervention strategies that policymakers may use in health promotion.

Conclusion

Although there are numerous ways of eliminating obesity, the best approach entails combining various initiatives. In these initiatives, nurses should be more informed of obesity and should position themselves as role models. Nurses are agents of change in care practice, given their role in advocating for improved patient health by laying more focus on obesity. Controlling this epidemic can only work if nurses are at the forefront of addressing this issue. A more comprehensive evidence based approach is required to address obesity issues within the larger societal segment. The actions of nurses will play a significant role in replacing obesity with wellness. Since obesity causes numerous health risks and socio-economic consequences that diminish the quality of life in children, addressing overweight and obesity levels using self-management is important, especially when children are young. Thus, it is important that the variety of interventions integrate policy, education, parental involvement, and most importantly, nurses in alleviating obesity.

References

Brown, S. (2014). Evidence-based Nursing: The Research-Practice Connection. US: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Farajian, P., Panagiotakos, D., Risvasm G., Malisova, P. & Zampelas, A. (2014). Hierarchical analysis of dietary, lifestyle and family environment risk factors for childhood obesity: the GRECO study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 68, 1107–1112.

Philips, K., Schieve, L., Visser, S., Boulet, S., Sharma, A., Kogan, M., Boyle, C., & Yeargin-Allsop, M. (2014). Prevalence and Impact of Unhealthy Weight in a National Sample of Adolescents with Autism and Other Learning and Behavioral Disabilities. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 10(1007), 1-12.

Rabbitt, A. & Coyne, I. (2012). Childhood obesity: nurses’ role in addressing the epidemic. British Journal of Nursing, 21(12), 731-735.

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Stevens, G., Singh, G., Lu, Y., Danaei, G., Lin, J., Finucane, M… Ezzati, M. (2012). National, regional and global trends in adult overweight and obesity prevalence. Population Health Metrics, 10(1), 22-37.

Towns, C., Cooke, M., Rysdale, L., & Wilk, P. (2014). Healthy Weights Interventions in Aboriginal Children and Youth: A review of Literature. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 75(3), 125-131.

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