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02/15/2012

Report On A Health Issue - Obesity In School Age Children


Obesity in school age children

 

Purpose

  1. This paper wants to understand why is there an occurrence of obesity in children that belong to the school age group
  2. This paper aims to determine how school age children gets obesity problem.
  3. The paper aims to create recommendations on how nurses can address obesity on school age children.

Introduction

Obesity happens when one has an excess of fats in a person’s body and the excess body fats is a threat to the person’s health. Obesity is a life threatening situation that can and should be given proper medical attention. Obesity in school age children varies among different children. Experts prefer to use overweight rather than obese in describing school age children because for them the term overweight creates a lesser degree of emotional trauma. Obesity in school children can be due to bad eating habits, inactivity of a school age child, genetics, medical illness and psychological issue. Obesity in school children usually leads either family squabbles or a tighter relationship of the members of the family. Some families support the school children who are obese; there are some family members who tend to ridicule obese school children. Nursing practice should determine means to reduce the effect of obesity in school age children. It should also determine means for families to have a positive outlook on school age children who are obese.

Definition of terms

Childhood Obesity: a weight-for-height in excess of 120 percent of ideal weight. (http://www.georgiapta.org/resources-health-obesity.html)

Genetics: The branch of biology that deals with heredity, especially the mechanisms of hereditary transmission and the variation of inherited characteristics among similar or related organisms. 

(http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/genetics)

School age children: The age where a child is old enough to attend school. (http://www.answers.com/topic/school-age)

Trauma: An experience that is emotionally painful, distressful, or shocking, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.

(http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=8171)

 

Background

Obesity is on the increase in most countries. Its prevalence in England has almost tripled during the last two decades, a more rapid increase than seen in other parts of Europe; by 1998, 21% of women and 17% of men in England were obese. In the US, 22% of adults are obese and more than 50% are above the desirable range of weight for height. The increase in obesity is not restricted to westernized countries; all the signs are that this is increasing rapidly also in developing countries. For example, in South Africa, more than 44% of black women have been reported to be obese. It is well established that obesity and overweight are hazardous to health and so these figures give rise to concern (Pool, 2001). The world is in the middle of a vast epidemic of obesity. The cost of this epidemic to individuals and to society is considerable. Fat people are more likely to develop a variety of diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, than people who are not overweight, and they die earlier than their non obese peers. The Institute of Medicine estimated in 1995 that, in the United States alone, annual health-care expenses for obesity and related conditions come to more than $70 billion. Each year, obesity is a factor in the deaths of some 300,000 Americans. On a less lethal level, the obese are subject to a variety of inconveniences and mistreatments wherein they encounter difficulty in climbing stairs or walking long distances. Obese people also encounter discrimination and are judged as less competent than others. For more than sixty years, doctors have been trying to figure out how to help. The campaign began in the 1930s, when the medical community first realized that people with fifty or more pounds of surplus flesh were dying younger than their fellows. At the time, doctors assumed that people got fat because they did not understand the relationship between calories and weight or perhaps because they didn't realize the health consequences of obesity (Pool, 2001).

 

The standard response was to educate patients about nutrition, provide them with some sample meal plans, and expect them to reform their eating habits accordingly. It didn't work. Despite all the diet books, diet drugs, reduced calorie and reduced-fat foods, and advice from weight-loss specialists, the obesity epidemic has not slowed. Indeed, it is growing much faster than it was thirty years ago. If the rate of obesity in the general population continues increasing at the same pace it has for the past two decades, half of the adults in the United States alone will be obese by the year 2025. In any practical sense, the quest to understand and control obesity quest cannot be considered a success. Obesity takes decades to develop, as small excesses of energy intake over expenditure accrue (Cbe Morris, Hardman & Stensel, 2003).  Suggestions that children are becoming less active may presage even greater problems with obesity and obesity-related illnesses in years to come. Obesity is already increasing in children and adolescents (Cbe Morris, Hardman & Stensel, 2003). Obesity has been a global issue that has not been given proper solution. Obesity has become a global epidemic; experts are still on the process of determining the best solution and prevention for such problem.

 

Discussion

Some experts link the rise in childhood obesity to human biology and genetics. Others prefer to target fast food and soft drinks. there are those who focus on the lack of physical activity and identify television and computers as the primary culprits. Still others say the fatness epidemic boils down to poor parenting (Dalton, 2004). To varying degrees, these experts are correct. But the causes are even more numerous and interrelated; the whole society is complicit and therefore must be part of the solution. There is no magic bullet for childhood obesity in the form of a pill. There are only pills to suppress appetite and potions to prevent fat absorption once the potato chips are in the stomach and on their way toward digestion. There is no single social or governmental action that is a panacea for this overweight generation. Rather, there are many steps that people can take, individually and together as a community, to combat this epidemic. Serving nutritious food in reasonable portions is an obvious step; no less important, is learning how to listen for and respect internal cues of hunger and satiety (Dalton, 2004).

 

 Raising kids to self-regulate their food choices in a healthy, balanced manner is one form of insurance against obesity in a society. Fighting the fatness epidemic will require a long-term commitment because it involves much more than going on a diet: it entails changing individuals' behavior and the choices available to them to sustain a healthy weight through balanced eating and physical activity, day in and day out. If a significant number of overweight children are to reach and maintain a healthy weight, and if people hope to prevent widespread obesity in the next generation, then society as a whole must work to change the external factors that play such a large role in making people fatter (Roberts, 2003).Obesity to school age children is due to various reasons. Solving such problem requires the participation of both the child and the people around him/her. In solving obesity to school age children, the child needs to have determination to reduce his/her weight. He/she should be informed on what would happen if the state of being obese is not solved. The people in the environment need to support the obese child, they should encourage the child to engage in physical activities and they should monitor the things the child eats.

Conclusion

Obesity in school age children has been a problem of society. Various groups play an important role in solving such problem. Parents, teachers and the government have their own responsibility to make sure that obesity in school age children is solved and/or prevented. One group that plays a vital role in solving the problem of obesity in school age children is the Medical society. Doctors and Nurses not only need to identify means to reduce the onset of obesity in school age children. They also need to participate in solving the problem of obesity in school age children.

Recommendation

Nursing practice can be used to reduce the onset of obesity in school children. Nurses can roam around in areas that are declared to be those who have obesity issues. The nurses can use informational materials to depict why there is a need for an obese school age children to lose weight. The informational materials can give information on how obesity can be life threatening. Moreover the informational material can contain tips on how an obese school age children will lose weight. Nurses can also talk to the parents and the other people in the environment, they can give advices on how obesity on the school age child may be prevented and solved. They can suggest a more nutritional diet for the school age children. The nurses should monitor for any change and keep record of the activities that were done in solving the problem of obesity on school age children.

 

References

Cbe Morris, J.N., Hardman, A.E. & Stensel, D.J. (2003).

Physical activity and health: The evidence explained.

New York: Routledge.

 

Dalton, S. (2004).  Our overweight children: What parents,

schools, and communities can do to control the fatness

epidemic. Berkeley, CA: University of California

Press.

 

Pool, R. (2001). Fat: Fighting the obesity epidemic. New

York:  Oxford University Press.

 

Roberts, M.C. (Ed.). (2003). Handbook of pediatric

psychology. New York:  Guilford Press.

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