Childhood Obesity: Review of Articles Related to the Topic

In recent years, childhood obesity becomes the main health problem that affected all social groups in the US. The articles selected for analysis, “Effectiveness of a Cardiovascular Health Promotion Education Intervention on the Attitudes of Urban African American School-Age Children” by Fleming et al (2000) and “Culture, Obesity Stereotypes, Self-Esteem, and the “Thin Ideal”: A Social Identity Perspective” by Klaczynsk et al (2004) reflect current research agenda and the main findings in this topic area. Both articles represent meta-analysis research consisting of several research hypotheses and studies on the topic but reviewed and accessed under one meta-research study.

Fleming et al (2000) vividly portray problems and issues discussed in current literature and examine obesity prevalence rates among African American children. The research examines the impact and effectiveness of promotion educational programs in schools and communities in general. The authors find that the main cause of child obesity is poor dietary management at home and at schools. Many parents do not know the main rules of a healthy diet and special dietary patterns for children. The same problem is found in many schools and colleges. These institutions propose children fat saturated food with high caloricity and cholesterol levels.

This food is cheaper than fruits and vegetables, so limited budgets force many schools to replace healthy diets with fat saturated meals. The results of these problems are diseases and childhood obesity since early years. Helping children make permanent, healthy changes to their eating habits is an essential component in the multidisciplinary approach to the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity, thus neither school nor parents are unable to do it. The study is based on a repeated measures design and involves 76 African American children. The research finds that health nurses and nurse practitioners play a crucial role in the promotion of health-related programs and educations of children

The article by Klaczynsk et al (2004) examines the problem of self-esteem and the impact of stereotypes on obese children. The researchers state that children are influenced by negative attitudes towards obesity and overweight. Negative energy balance can be induced by a reduction in energy consumed, an increase in energy expended, or a combination of both. In theory, reducing fat stores should be simple; eat less and exercise more. Depression and low-self esteem are the main results of negative stereotypes and attitudes towards obese people in society. The problem of self-identity is closely connected with body image

. The reason for negative stereotypes is the lack of physical activity and psychical training at schools. When the growing problem of overweight and obesity is mentioned, the issues that immediately spring to mind for most people will be food intake and overeating. Until the last 5 years, lack of physical activity has received at best secondary attention. The study is based on correlation analysis: comparison between two groups and involve 107undergraduate students from different backgrounds (Campos 2004).

The results of two meta-analyses show that obesity in children is a complex problem caused by a number of reasons; poor diet and lack of physical activity, racial and gender factors. The main difference is that the studies examine different racial groups: Fleming et al (2000) examine Africa-Americans only but Klaczynsk et al (2004) examine both races. Fleming et al (2000) are based on repeated measures design while Klaczynsk et al (2004) use zero-order correlations among the scales. The research methods selected for both studies are effective and allow researchers to examine and test the hypotheses.

Obviously, one can have appropriate inferences and conclusions without collecting data. Based on these assumptions, qualitative and quantitative research as an interactive continuum becomes more evident. What dictates the categorization of the method is the type of question being asked, the type of data being used, and the selection of data-analysis techniques. As researchers begin an investigation, they are receptive to what might be revealed in a discovery or inductive frame of mind. Then, as patterns are revealed, the researcher moves to more controlled verifying methods in an effort to support hypotheses about the data, a deductive focus (Wadden and Stunkard 2004).

The studies found that obesity in children is caused by physiological and psychological problems. In sum, childhood obesity is a complex problem caused by such factors as parents’ negligence and lack of education about dietary patterns, fats food and false advertising, and lack of psychical activity. Thus, these causes lead to one problem – an increased number of obese children. There are at least two reasons why increased physical activity may be particularly important for the health of overweight and obese children.

First, they are more likely to be in the least active sector of the population and are more prone to excessive time spent in sedentary pursuits such as TV watching. Second, they have a higher risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer, problems that physical activity may successfully help protect against. Negative stereotypes and low-self esteem worsen the problem of obesity and prevent many children from effective treatment and weight loss. For many children, inadequate food patterns become a distinctive feature of the American lifestyle.

References

Campos, P. (2004). The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health. Gotham.

Fleming, T. L., Green, J. L., Martin, J. C. (2000). Effectiveness of a Cardiovascular Health Promotion Education Intervention on the Attitudes of Urban African American School-Age Children. Journal of Community Health Nursing 17 (1), 49-70.

Klaczynsk, P. A., Goold, K. W., Mudry, J. J. (2004). Culture, Obesity Stereotypes, Self-Esteem, and the “Thin Ideal”: A Social Identity Perspective. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 33 (4), 307- 310.

Wadden, Th, A., Stunkard, A. J. (2004). Handbook of Obesity Treatment. The Guilford Press; Updated edition.