Childhood obesity is one of the major contemporary health and social, physical and psychological issue. Beside the most examined health issues also the psychological and social are very important that are derived from the obesity. Children are confronted with discrimination, which result in negative body image, low self-esteem, depressions and other which shows that the issue must be examined from different aspects. Obesity has severe impacts on the children with numerous social and health related concerns. Psychology as a discipline can help to decrease the alarming rates of obese children in the country. There have been various factors identified that contribute to the issue, some adoptable and other not. Being obese as a child increases the risks to being obese in adulthood. In the United States, there have been (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention n. d.)17% of adolescents aged from 2 to 19 years obese, which means that 12.7 million of children between those ages are confronted with the obesity. The obesity affects all aged groups, were among 2 to 5 years there were 8.4% of children obese and between 12 to 19 years, 20.5% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention n. d.). The thesis of the paper is that child obesity rates can be decreased with the findings and suggestions of the experimental studies carried out in the area of obesity.
A review of experimental studies
There have been various methods used in examining the obesity topic. Some researchers are focused on the examining the literature in this area, some include experimental studies. The majority of them have done a research based on one of the main contributing factors and its effects on the rate of obesity among United States children. The experimental studies have come to different conclusions, which are seen from the literature review, but there have been various correlations found that can be helpful to decrease the rate of obesity among children. Statistical analysis shows correlation or no correlation between different variables examined. The psychologists can use this information in order to help the society improve the obesity rates. By carrying out experimental researches, surveys, focus groups, the problems are expressed upon which psychologist can act and prevent with the cooperation of other disciplines to improve health of the citizens. This can help the psychologist to improve policies and prevent childhood obesity. Studies and experiments carried out are usually focused on some geographical location or they are based on the national surveys. The psychologist can help tackle the psychological effects of obesity on children, which include: “lowering self-esteem, affecting relationship with peers, and causing social problems” (Hufman & Patel, 2010, 2801). The psychologist can with determined risk factors that include physical activity, socioeconomic status, sedentary lifestyle, eating habits, environment, technology, parental status, advertisement, genetics (Hufman & Patel, 2010) and others focus on the most vulnerable groups. Prediction and early intervention are significant for improving health of children in the country (Rooney et al., 2011).
With one third of the United States children being obese, millions of dollars are being spent on the childhood obesity. Obesity is more prevalent in specific low income groups where preventing the obesity in early age can be the most effective approach. Various different policies have focused on the regulation of food served in schools, advertising, taxing of low nutritional value food and food assistance programs for low income families. It is estimated that one half of children in the states will be part of the federal assistance food program and therefore can have a major impact on the child obesity. There have been different researches carried out to examine the impact of the food assistance on the obesity rates where results were mixed. Some have found it beneficial the others have shown that the children who took meals in school had higher rates of obesity. The findings differed based on the costs of living. The literature therefore differs, since various factors contribute to the increasing rate of obesity (Kimbro & Rigby, 2010). One of the research studied correlation between the weight status of children and participation in the federal food assistance program. The results showed no relationship between the body mass weight and food assistance in 20 examined cities. There have been found that low income children could maintain a healthier weight with participating in meals at school. Overall results showed that participating in the food assistance programs have substantial impact on the children BMI. There have been found differences among different food assistance programs, where subsidized meals have positive impacts and financial assistance resulted in increased BMI among children. The results showed that by improving the federal food policy can bring solutions to the obesity issue and that some policies in the states even contribute to the increased rate of obesity (Kimbro & Rigby, 2010).
There have been various studies carried out that examined the child obesity risks and correlation of the parental BMI. The behavior and genetics of the parents have been positively correlated with the child’s health. The study, which examined the medical records of mothers and children in the longer period of time, has found in the statistical analysis that environment and genetics paly a significant role in the early childhood obesity. The mothers’ characteristics can have a vast impact on the child’s health such as mothers MBI, breastfeeding, and smoking during pregnancy, infant rapid weight gain and gestational weight gain. All factors examined played an important role in the childhood and also later on the adolescent and adulthood obesity. This study showed that intervention to prevent child obesity must start even prior the child birth sine there exist significant possibilities that with the reduction of the risk factors prior the birth and parental characteristics the obesity rate among children can be decreased (Rooney et al., 2011).
Health and psychosocial issues related to the obesity are impacted by the parental behavior, where children are dependent on them and are not guilty for their obesity issues. Major reasons for obesity in the study carried out in the Indore City with the random sampling of choosing an experimental group were lack of exercising, parental influence residing from their lifestyle patterns. The study found out that education on the nutritional food value, risk factors of obesity and importance of activity can impact the nutritional status of individuals. It has been proven that the family environment is one of the major factors that can contribute to or diminish the obesity among children. There is a difference between the children and adults and adults and parents with their influence on their children can with proper education on the obesity issues improve the children’s health (Meena & Rekhade, 2013).
Children are vulnerable to the advertisement of food and drinks and Children being exposed to the TV food advertising can increase the overweight and obesity. The multicultural comparison between 6 different western countries was carried out to show the contribution of the TV food advertisement among 6 to 11 years old children to the obesity rates. Three countries with a higher and lower rate of TV food advertisement were chosen and the study was carried out based on the reviews and literature by using the mathematic simulation model. There have been found that the TV advertisement of food impacts the choices and food preferences among children, which usually advertise unhealthy and energy dense nutrition food and drinks and contribute to the child obesity. The study found out that in all countries the TV food advertising exposure was connected with the obesity and overweight. In countries where rates of exposure were lower prevalence status of obesity was lower as well. The study shows that the reduction of the TV food advertised could result in lower child obesity rates (Goris et al., 2010).
Discussion and conclusion
Childhood obesity is one of the most concerning contemporary issues, since it can greatly impact the health, physical, social and psychological status of a child. The policies to reduce the contemporary issue must be implemented since the children are exposed to various obesity risks which should be reduced since they effect and decreases overall national health. The thesis of the paper was set that child obesity rates can be decreased with the findings and suggestions of the experimental studies carried out this his area. The child obesity can be tackled with the various experiments, survey and studies already carried out. In the paper the five different studies were examined which showed the complexity of the obesity issue. There have been numerous different obesity risks identified, from genetics, environment, family and parental status, income, race and others. The child obesity rates can be tackled with focusing on various aspects at the same time, from parental education about the nutritional values and calories take in, the importance of the exercising and risks of inappropriate eating habits and sedentary lifestyles, impact of technology and advertising of the drink and food, along with the improvement of school meals and federal food assistance programs to the child’s education. The hypothesis can be conformed, but there are some positive and negative sides derived from the studies already carried out and their suggestions that were based on the final results. There have been various different studies carried out on national, regional or lower levels, which can contribute to the knowledge about the factors that contribute to the obesity. With studies from different perspectives the holistic picture can be seen by giving the insight. The negative side of the studies already done can be found in different or even contradictory conclusions. The studies used different methods and techniques and used different samples on different geographical location which resulted in different findings. Some studies found the correlation with the obesity rates and family income, race, ethnicity, living conditions, environment, parental status where other literature reviews showed no correlation or no strong correlation. More researches should be done on the international level and more involvement of doctors, schools, parents and children along with the national agencies to work towards the reduction rates of obesity that have vast impacts on the children and later in the adulthood with affecting their productivity, health expenses, physical activity and achievements that impact the whole nation. All in all studies and researches can help to improve the policies to reduce the obesity rates and can help the professionals and parents to improve the factors that contribute to the child obesity. The psychology and psychologists can help to tackle the psychological effects of the obesity that must be more acknowledged since the health impact are presented as one of the most important effect of the obesity, but the self-esteem, psychological diseases and social problems of children must also be addressed in order to better understand and tackle the obesity issue. With known consequences, impacts and risk factors the psychologists can help other experts and families to decrease the childhood obesity rates.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (N. d.). Childhood Obesity Facts. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html
Kimbro, R. T., & Rigby, E. (2010). Federal food policy and childhood obesity: A solution or part of the problem? Health Affairs, 29(3), 411-8. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/204628960?accountid=8366
Goris, J. M., Petersen, S., Stamatakis, E., & Veerman, J. L. (2010). Television food advertising and the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity: A multicountry comparison. Public Health Nutrition, 13(7), 1003-12. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980009992850
Huffman, F. G., Kanikireddy, S., & Patel, M. (2010). Parenthood-A contributing factor to childhood obesity. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(7), 2800-10. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/738864404?accountid=8366
Meena, T., & Rekhade, N. (2013). Impact of nutrition education on eating habits of both parents and children while treating childhood obesity. International Journal of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics, 1(3), 87-91. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1508487167?accountid=8366
Rooney, B. L., Mathiason, M. A., & Schauberger, C. W. (2011). Predictors of obesity in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood in a birth cohort. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 15(8), 1166- 75. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10995-010-0689-1