Background and Methodology of the Research Process to Problems:
This paper shall present an analysis of an article titled “Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis” by David Ludwig, Kate Peterson and Steven Gortmaker.
The study appreciates that the prevalence of childhood obesity in the US is increasing. It states that although childhood obesity could stem from powerful and overarching influences that are beyond anyone’s control, lifestyles are the greatest cause of obesity. Overconsumption of high-calorie foods and drinks leads to an “energy gap”- an imbalance between energy intake and energy usage. This “energy gap” predisposes people to obesity. The high appeal and people’s inability to resist sweet foods and drinks increases the “energy gap” thereby predisposing more people to obesity. In particular, this study notes that sugar-sweetened drinks are responsible for the increment in childhood obesity. It aims to study the relationship between high prevalence in childhood obesity and consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks (Ludwig, Peterson & Gortmaker, 2001).
Importance of the problem to health care administrators
Research into causes and interventions of obesity are vital to health care administrators. Obese people are at risk of numerous health problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, orthopedic complications, diabetes among others. The higher the numbers of sick people in a country, the more the expenditure on health. Moreover, the more the sick people in a country, the less productive those people become and this can have huge impacts on the economy and future of a country. Since healthcare administrators want to improve peoples’ health, they can make use of studies such as this one, in order to formulate policies towards the reduction of obesity levels in their societies.
The purpose of the study is to establish the relationship between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and the high prevalence of childhood obesity. Research question
The main research question was “what is the relationship between childhood obesity and consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks?”
The paper hypothesizes that “consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks entices and encourages children to consume excessive drinks and foods of a similar nature that have high levels of calories thereby causing them to become obese” (Ludwig, Peterson & Gortmaker, 2001.Study variables
The “consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks” was the independent variable. Children can vary the amount of sugar-sweetened drinks that they consume. Moreover, the consumption of the sugar-sweetened drinks has an effect on the study phenomena which is the increment in weigh or rise in obesity levels.
The dependent variable is the changes in weight or level of obesity. The passage of time is a major determinant in the realization of changes in obesity due to the hypothesized consumption of sugar-sweetened foods. Conceptual model or theoretical framework
The conceptual framework for the study stems from the knowledge that overconsumption of carbohydrates such as sugars puts people at high risk of becoming obese. Children are especially prone to the consumption of high quantities of sugars due to their liking for sweetened foods and drinks. Although children require a lot of energy as they grow, due to their involvement in play and active movements, children nowadays are less active. Many children have taken to less physically involving tasks such as playing video games and other passive activities. On the other hand, the numbers of sugar-sweetened drinks and the amount of sugars in the drinks have all soared. Against this background, a study on the relationship between childhood obesity and consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks becomes plausible.
Review of related literature
There has been ample literature on consumption of certain foods pr drinks and obesity. The study quotes a research by Friedman and Schwartz that noted that consumption of sodas among school-going children (aged 6-11) had increased from 15% in 1970 to 33% in 2002. The study also found out that in the same period, the obesity levels in the US increased from 4% to 19% (Ludwig, Peterson & Gortmaker, 2001. Other studies also confirmed that increment in the levels of obesity among children was connected to consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and drinks.
The study was an observational one. Specifically the study was a cross-sectional study in which the researchers enrolled a group of students and studied their eating habits over time while taking their weights. The study focused on 548 students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The children were all aged 6-12 years from public schools in four communities in Massachusetts. The researchers studied the children’s eating habits and weights for a period of 19 months (from Oct 1995 to May 1997). Initially, the researchers recorded the initial weights of the children and then set forth to monitor changes in weight after every 3 months. The researchers clustered the schools for ease of analyzing and handling the data obtained. The data obtained was then analyzed through logistic and linear regression analyses.
The study found that for the Body Mass Index (BMI) and the frequency of obesity increased for corresponding increments in the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks among children. In all, the study concluded that consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks increases obesity in children.
Ludwig, D., Peterson, K., & Gortmaker, S. (2001). Relation Between Consumption Of Sugar- sweetened Drinks And Childhood Obesity: A Prospective, Observational Analysis. The Lancet,357(9255), 505-508.