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The Role of Nurses in the Obesity Problem

Literature Review

There is no doubt that the present situation with childhood obesity is a serious problem in our society. Due to that, there is an urgent need to study the discussed topic more thoroughly to be able to answer the most important questions and develop the necessary solutions. It is necessary to say that the majority of the researchers who have worked on this problem were able to make conclusions that can extend our knowledge on obesity in children, its reasons, and outcomes. Many findings reported by the previous researchers can be used to strengthen this paper.

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To conduct research that would possess practical significance, it is important to use only academic sources. To find credible scholarly literature, I was using Google Scholar. All the articles chosen for the review are from peer-reviewed scholarly journals about nursing and medicine. The chosen sources have appeared no more than five years ago, and they are devoted to childhood obesity and the factors that cause it.

In their work, Antonogeorgos, Panagiotakos, Grigoropoulou, and Priftis (2013) study the connection between the educational level of adult people and the BMI of their children. As a part of the research, the authors experimented with more than a thousand participants. Adult participants were to answer a series of questions concerning their eating habits and level of education. Furthermore, the data on children’s body characteristics were collected, and they were divided into groups according to their BMI. In the end, the authors concluded that children whose parents were more educated were likely to be healthier and apply the principles of healthy eating.

The findings of Antonogeorgos and his research group concerning the connection of parents’ education level and their children’s feeding behavior support the evidence from another study conducted a year earlier. In their article, Birbilis, Moschonis, Mougios, and Manios (2012) try to single out and study the factors that can have a significant influence on the health of adolescents. During their research, the authors used measurements and personal information of more than two thousand students from 9 to 13 years old to study their state of health in connection to such factors as body mass index of their parents (especially mothers), vicious habits that their mothers had at pregnancy, and different factors connected to social background and income level of their families.

The level of education of the parents of overweight children was also taken into consideration. The authors managed to find the connection between children’s risks to become obese and their mothers’ behavior at pregnancy and after the period of lactation. Furthermore, there were a few risk exposure factors connected to their parents’ national identity, low level of education, and high body mass index. In the end, the research affirmed the presupposition concerning a multi-faceted nature of obesity in children. Despite the possible limitations of the discussed work, it can be used as a theoretical background of the present research. If compared to the previous article, this one seems to be more substantial as the authors reveal the significance of parents’ education level in connection with other factors such as nationality and body weight.

Unlike the previously mentioned researchers, other authors interested in the topic made attempts to study it focusing on the role of mothers. Although it is focused on a narrower group, its results also give support to the ones delivered earlier. Within the frame of their research, Daniels, Mallan, Nicholson, Battistutta, and Magarey (2013) studied the effects of universal campaigns conducted to popularize feeding practices able to prevent obesity in children. About seven hundred women with their first-born children were engaged in the experiment. The participants were randomly divided into two groups; mothers from the first group could make decisions on breastfeeding on their own.

The participants from the second group were allowed to attend special education programs devoted to feeding practices and their importance. The effects of such intervention were assessed half a year after the end of the program. The data was collected with the help of questionnaires; the state of health of the children was also assessed. In the end, the authors found out that mothers’ awareness of feeding practices significantly increased, and they were using most of the knowledge gained during the experiment. Nevertheless, no connection between participation in the program and lower childhood obesity rates was found. Despite this fact, the participants’ increased level of awareness was expected to have a positive influence on children’s health in the future. Unlike previous studies in the field, it highlights the importance of mothers’ education for their children’s health.

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The conclusion about a negative correlation between a high level of parents’ education and increased BMI of their children was confirmed by one more study. Matthiessen, Stockmarr, Fagt, Knudsen, and Biltoft‐Jensen (2014) studied the cases of many Danish children to define if there was a connection between their body mass index and their parents’ level of education. The authors analyzed health data of more than five hundred children and the health data of their parents. Interestingly, the results were different for mothers and fathers of the participants. The educational level of mothers was higher than that of fathers, and it had a stronger connection to their children’s health condition. In the end, the authors concluded that there was a need to launch more health initiatives pointed at informing uneducated people. Unlike other researchers in the field, the authors managed to assess mothers’ and fathers’ influence separately.

One more study on the topic was conducted two years ago. It is aligned with previous results; nevertheless, its authors do not focus on only one country. The article by Muthuri, Onywera, Tremblay, Broyles, and Fogelholm (2015) is devoted to childhood obesity in different countries, and the factors contributing to its growth. Within the frame of the research, the authors studied the connection between obesity in children (and their level of physical activity) and a few factors connected to their parents such as education level and health situation. More than four thousand children from twelve countries became the participants of the experiment. During the research, the authors collected the data on their body mass index, physical activity levels; furthermore, they considered physical parameters and education levels of the participants’ parents. In the end, the authors confirmed the results of previous research in the field. They found the connection between obesity in children and their parents. Furthermore, they concluded that the low education level of the parents and obesity in children were also interconnected. In the context of previous studies, it has shown that the connection between the two discussed factors is not typical for particular countries.

It is necessary to add that there are no significant disagreements on the results between the authors of different articles. The only difference is connected to the peculiarities of particular nations that they were studying. Apart from that, all the researchers support the idea of the connection between obesity rates and educational levels. Furthermore, some of them prove that a mother’s influence on children’s health situation is much stronger.

Despite all the sources mentioned above, there is a need for further research in the field, and the present work is aimed at filling this knowledge gap.


Antonogeorgos, G., Panagiotakos, D. B., Grigoropoulou, D., & Priftis, K. N. (2013). The mediating effect of parents’ educational status on the association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and childhood obesity: the PANACEA study. International journal of public health, 58(3), 401-408.

Birbilis, M., Moschonis, G., Mougios, V., & Manios, Y. (2012). Obesity in adolescence is associated with perinatal risk factors, parental BMI and sociodemographic characteristics. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(1), 115-121.

Daniels, L. A., Mallan, K. M., Nicholson, J. M., Battistutta, D., & Magarey, A. (2013). Outcomes of an early feeding practices intervention to prevent childhood obesity. Pediatrics, 132(1), 11-19.

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Matthiessen, J., Stockmarr, A., Fagt, S., Knudsen, V. K., & Biltoft‐Jensen, A. (2014). Danish children born to parents with lower levels of education are more likely to become overweight. Acta Paediatrica, 103(10), 1083-1088.

Muthuri, S., Onywera, V., Tremblay, M., Broyles, S., & Fogelholm, M. (2015). Relationships between parental education and overweight with childhood overweight and physical activity in 9–11 year old children: Results from a 12-country study. PLOS One, 11(8), 3-21.

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