Child obesity

Introduction

Childhood obesity is a condition, which negatively affects a child’s health and wellbeing due to the excess body fats. The prevalence of obesity in most children makes it a serious health concern. This is evident from the fact that it has many adverse health effects to the children. In the United States, an estimation of about 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese.

Childhood obesity being a rare occurrence in the past, it is now amongst the most widespread health problems affecting children and adolescents. The changes that occur in the physical and social environments of the children add up to the causes of obesity. In mitigating the effects of child obesity, several stakeholders are involved who include state health agencies, family members, community at large and health plans (Graves, Meyers, & Clark, 1988).

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Problems of Childhood obesity

Childhood obesity has several problems that it presents to the child. One of the problems that it poses to a child is that obesity increases the chances of a child getting pediatric hypertension. Secondly, childhood obesity can lead to a diabetic condition known as type II diabetes mellitus thus an obese child risks getting this health problem.

Another problem that childhood obesity brings about is that there is the risk of contracting coronary heart disease by a child. Another problem of childhood obesity is that obese children experience low self-esteem hence affecting their relations with peers. In another context, social and psychological problems can be associated to childhood obesity as the most significant consequences in children.

The problems of psychological toll on children can also lead to adverse problems such as drug and alcohol abuse, depression and eating disorders. The most likely eating disorders that they might experience are anorexia and bulimia. Another significant problem associated with childhood obesity is the risk of having high blood pressure and high percentage of cholesterol in the body. Other problems include skin infections, asthma and respiratory problems (Dietz, 1983).

Solutions to Childhood obesity

Childhood obesity problems have specific solutions that touch on all the stakeholders involved in a child’s life. The stakeholders include the children, parents, teachers, schools, communities, civic leaders and government agencies. On the part of the children, they can be a solution to themselves by learning good eating habits.

The habits include eating lots of fruits and vegetables and making sure they are active most of the time by engaging in sports activities. The parents on their side should play a great role in limiting the time that their children spend on TV and computer games. This is solely because spending more time on TV and computer games reduces physical activity. This affects the children through increase in consumption of high-calorie snacks (Freedman, Dietz, & Srinivasan, 1999).

On the part of teachers, they play a vital role since they spend most of the time with the children. One important solution that teachers can offer is by introducing a form of rotation between the classroom curriculum and extra-curriculum activities. This helps greatly in the children learning abilities since active students are more alert and learn easily.

Another solution that teachers can provide is having a program that raises awareness about physical fitness among both the children and their teachers. In addition, the teachers can have the children involved in healthy meal planning talks by inviting a health educator to speak to them (Graves, Meyers, & Clark, 1988).

On the part of the school as a whole, they should have a coordinated school health program that is capable of addressing all the physical activities and nutrition. In this case, the health program should be able to integrate all the activities of a school community that influences the health of a student.

Amongst the components that it should integrate, include health education, physical education, counseling, psychological and social services. School authorities should also seek the indulgence o students in getting an input to the school menu through engaging in focus groups or contests.

On the part of the community, they can give a solution to childhood obesity through increasing access by the public to places such as playgrounds, gyms and walking or biking trails to increase physical activities of the children. Another solution the community can offer is increasing access to a variety of food choices.

Another stakeholder to the solutions to childhood obesity is the civic leaders. This they can do through making of public facilities much more accessible. They can also engage city planners in establishing wider sidewalks and bicycle paths to reduce crowding and make them safer and inviting. Lastly, government agencies have a role to play in reducing the problem of childhood obesity.

The government can help in creating policies that encourage physical activities and healthy eating. Another solution the government can offer is through allocation of funds for promoting health and monitoring programs. By providing teachers with health education materials, government can help students in developing skills, attitudes and behaviors for healthy eating patterns (Kids’ Health Specials, 2011).

Conclusion

In the 21st century, there are several problems to health, social and economic challenges but one of the greatest is childhood obesity. The most significant health problems that we face today are due to the rising numbers of childhood obesity cases. In order to improve and intensify the efforts towards promoting physical activity and healthy eating, it is a fundamental mission of both the parents and community.

Without a strong contribution from the community and families, we are not likely to reverse the epidemic. The community and families have the task of educating young people on eating healthy. This will largely help them become productive citizens who can make meaningful contributions to society (Graves, Meyers, & Clark, 1988).

References

Dietz, W. H. (1983). Childhood obesity: Susceptibility, cause, and management. Journal of Pediatrics, 103(5), 676-686.

Freedman, D.S., Dietz, W.H., & Srinivasan, S.R. (1999). The Relation of Overweight to Cardiovascular Risk Factors Among Children and Adolescents: The Bogalusa Heart Study. Pediatrics, 103, 1175-1182.

Graves, T., Meyers, A. W., & Clark, L. (1988). An evaluation of parental problem-solving training in the behavioral treatment of childhood obesity. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56(2), 246-250.

Kids’ Health Specials. (2011). Physical and mental wellness: Childhood Obesity Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.ket.org/kidshealth/wellness/obesity_solutions.htm

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