Due to the criticality of physical and mental health consequences of childhood obesity, the central objective of the proposed research is to find a relevant and accurate answer to the following clinical question: for childhood obesity (P), what are the effects of after-school education practices programs (I) compared to currently deployed programs (C) on reducing the risk of obesity and related health concerns in young children (O) over one year period (T)?
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The clinical question stated above is a complex one because it is associated with both theoretical and practical changes in children’s behaviors. Therefore, in order to address it in a proper manner, a comprehensive intervention is necessary. The intervention is planned as an after-school educational program. This format is selected due to the proved efficiency of school-based interventions compared to family-based ones.
At the same time, this choice is motivated by the impossibility to launch a community-based intervention due to the limited resources for carrying out the proposed research. More than that, the intervention will be experimental due to the opportunity to control the information that will be shared with the participants of the intervention group, and all collected information regarding the intervention outcomes will be compared to baseline data collected before its beginning (Melnyk & Morrison-Beedy, 2012).
The idea for the proposed research project is to implement the intervention that will include two aspects. The first aspect is a purely theoretical one. During this stage, participants of the experiment will be provided with the most effective nutrition and physical exercise patterns and the major postulates of a healthy lifestyle. This aspect is associated with the combination of textual, photo, and video materials so that the educational program is interesting and enhances participation. Textual materials will be distributed to all participants of the intervention group so that it is easier to get focused on the shared information.
As for the photo materials, pictures will show healthy and recommended combinations of products, while videos will demonstrate the most effective physical exercises and instructions for doing them.
Nevertheless, sharing theoretical knowledge is not the only aspect of the planned intervention. Because it is imperative to measure the effectiveness of the educational program, there will be another aspect of the intervention. It will be based on collecting information regarding children’s physical health, specifically their weight and body mass index before and after the intervention in order to check whether it initiated any changes.
Outcome Analysis Frameworks and Specificities of Statistical Analysis
Based on the specificities of the planned intervention, there are two groups of outcomes that will be analyzed. They are theoretical and practical. As for the theoretical aspect, the changes in participants’ knowledge will be estimated. On the other hand, any alterations in the physical health indicators mentioned above will be analyzed as the practical aspect of outcomes. Figures related to the determinants of both groups will be analyzed by using the tools of Microsoft Excel spreadsheet application. The effectiveness of the intervention will be measured by calculating the percentages of change. It will be a major tool for statistical analysis. Percentiles will be accompanied with histograms for the better representation of the collected data (Carlberg, 2014).
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In order to indicate the specificities of the statistical analysis procedure, it is essential to point to the fact that this type of analysis (percentages) is directly connected to the data collection procedures. As stated during earlier stages of constructing a research proposal, information on theoretical knowledge of the participants will be collected by asking them to fill in surveys that will cover the knowledge of healthy lifestyle patterns and efficient ways to prevent childhood obesity. As for the practical outcomes, they will be obtained by measuring children’s weight and body mass index. Information will be collected twice – before and after the intervention. The idea is to compare the findings obtained at the beginning of the project and after closing it.
All in all, the outcomes will be analyzed based on the changes in percentages. Therefore, positive changes – increased knowledge of obesity prevention techniques and decreased weight and body mass index – will point to the high efficiency of the intervention. On the other hand, negative or no changes in the figures of the theoretical and practical outcomes – stable or worse knowledge of theory and unchanged weights and body mass index – will be associated with the ineffectiveness of the intervention. At the same time, preference will be given to the changes in physical health determinants because choosing healthy products (in case if it is noted while observing kids in the school cafeteria) is not necessarily connected to the improved knowledge.
Types of Demographic Data That Will Be Reported
There are several types of demographic data that are usually addressed in research. Some of them include gender, age, socioeconomic status (educational and economic background ethnicity), critical health issues (such as disabilities or chronic health conditions), employment status, family, etc. (Steinfield & Maisel, 2012). For the purposes of this research, not all of the abovementioned types of demographic data will be reported. In particular, age, gender, critical health issues, and socioeconomic status is the information that will be reported. To begin with, this step is essential in order to analyze the distribution of participants.
As for the socioeconomic status, the motivation for reporting it is the desire to test the findings of one of the recent studies laying stress on the fact that income and educational background predetermine disposition to the increased risks of childhood obesity (Tarro et al., 2014). Speaking of critical or chronic health conditions, they should be reported because, in some cases, obesity is related to diseases, not an unhealthy lifestyle or the lack of knowledge regarding obesity prevention. As for the other types of demographic data, they will be ignored because they are not necessary within the context of the planned research.
Expected Outcomes of the Project
Should it be implemented, the expected outcomes of the proposed research are positive. Based on the specificities of the intervention, it is assumed that it will contribute to a better understanding of preventing obesity in young children. However, the theoretical significance of the intervention goes beyond sole obesity prevention, as the potential improvement of lifestyles – switching to a healthy diet and regular exercising – is associated with the overall health improvement and prevention of numerous health issues related to unhealthy lifestyle, including metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
In addition to the improved knowledge, stabilization of body mass index and weight of the intervention group participants is another expected outcome of the experiment. More than that, it is potentially connected to the bettered self-perception and elimination of mental health issues related to being obese or overweight. All in all, this intervention is connected to the potential enhancement of health outcomes and the quality of life of young children covered by the experiment.
Carlberg, C. (2014). Statistical analysis: Microsoft Excel 2013. Indianapolis, IN: Pearson.
Melnyk, B. M., & Morrison-Beedy, D. (2012). Intervention research: Designing, conducting, analyzing, and funding. New York, NY: Springer.
Steinfield, E., & Maisel, J. (2012). Universal design: Designing inclusive environments. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Tarro, L., Llaurado, E., Albaladejo, R., Moriña, D., Arija, V., Solà, R., & Giralt, M. (2014). A primary-school-based study to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity – the EdAl (Educació en Alimentació) study: A randomized controlled trial. Trials, 15(1), 58-70. Web.