One of the primary ethical issues arising in the course of the research is making sure that the chosen Community Nursing Intervention does not compromise children’s health. A provider of healthcare should review the effectiveness of the chosen intervention, along with the executive capacity of the child (Perryman & Sidoti, 2015). Executive capacity implies that a participant (in case of very young children – a parent) is familiar with all components of the intervention, including risks and benefits. Because the chosen intervention (Wellness, Academics & You) is based on altering health-related habits at the same time resisting peer pressure in the classroom, it is crucial to consider both physical and mental characteristics of all participants.
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Involving parents to participate in the intervention is another ethical issue that should be taken into consideration. It is important not to disrupt the relationships within the family, even if some parents act in a way that is potentially damaging to the child’s well-being (unhealthy food, no physical activity, overprotectiveness, etc.). Sometimes a dramatic decrease in parents’ care for their child can come at a high cost. For instance, because the intervention will be focused on the school environment, a child can distance himself or herself from the family over the long period of time, which is a cost that no one is prepared to pay (Alexander, Baur, Magnusson, & Tobin, 2009).
Because Wellness, Academics & You is an intervention implemented in school and kindergarten environments, it is based on children interacting with each other. In this case, it should be determined whether all components of the program are suitable for each participant. Furthermore, it is important to involve parents in the process to avoid causing harm to children that may later deal with distancing themselves from parents that do not exhibit healthy life habits.
Limitations of Proposed Study
Due to the fact that it is impossible to study all childhood obesity interventions across all states in America, the proposed study will be limited in terms of geographical characteristics. Data collected in California and New Jersey will be compared to data regarding the previously-conducted intervention in Oregon. Therefore, the lack of time and monetary resources does not allow for data collection to expand beyond two states. While the study will not be limited by the age of the participating children (between 2 and 14 years), finding suitable community and school settings where parents will play an important mediating role will present another challenge. Because of the peculiarities of each household and characteristics of family lifestyles, finding a perfect study sample that will possess qualities necessary for the study is not an easy task. It will be crucial to account for every possible challenge that may appear in the course of the study, especially when it comes to parents’ interference and inability to effectively mediate and support children throughout the intervention. Lastly, the study will be limited by a set timeframe. Because of the lack of time resources, it will be impossible to determine the effectiveness of the administered intervention on a long-term basis. Determining health outcomes of children one or two years after the implementation of the Wellness, Academics & You program across California, New Jersey, and Oregon can be planned future research.
Thus, there are three primary limitations of the study that may affect the outcomes. It is important to take such limitations into account, so it is possible to eliminate them in follow-up studies.
Implications for Practice
Research in the issue of childhood obesity prevention in various settings points to the need for involving all key stakeholders that operate within the community, at schools, and in families for the development of more effective interventions (Reed, Viola, & Lynch, 2014). Responding to the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States will only be possible through cooperation between influential players that can improve children’s wellbeing on a variety of levels.
Previously, researchers managed to identify that collaborative approaches (Participatory Action Research and Community-Based Participatory Research) towards battling the problem of child obesity could be effectively used to bring the community together (Reed et al., 2014). Because the rates of childhood obesity are increasing dramatically, it is critical for Nursing Practitioners to operate within family and community settings to engage as many people as possible to eliminate the problem and prevent it from developing. Another implication for future practice is developing interventions that can be applied to obese children on the long-term basis. Such programs may become beneficial in helping to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle, retarget children still at risk of furthering their condition, and help schools, families, and communities develop new habits for children that will include adequate nutrition and regular physical activity.
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Creating the environment of support and understanding is what will help driving the change forward. Community-based nursing interventions for battling or preventing childhood obesity should become imperative in schools and kindergartens, and consistent monitoring by Nurse Practitioners should be a regular practice that guides key stakeholders and promotes children’s well-being.
Alexander, S., Baur, L., Magnusson, R., & Tobin, B. (2009). When does severe childhood obesity become a child protection issue? Medical Journal of Australia, 190(3), 136-139.
Perryman, M., & Sidoti, K. (2014). Ethical considerations in the treatment of childhood obesity. Medicolegal and Bioethics, 5, 17-26.
Reed, S., Viola, J., & Lynch, K. (2014). School and community-based childhood obesity: Implications for policy and practice. Web.