Childhood obesity is a serious public health concern both worldwide and nationally. This condition stems from an imbalance between calories consumed and those that are burnt or utilized (Karnik & Karenekar, 2012). In addition, genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors contribute to the overall energy imbalance, and consequently the development of obesity among young children. Besides, childhood obesity causes social, physiological and physical health problems (Karnik & Karenekar, 2012). It is paramount to stress on the preventative strategies if a considerable reduction in the morbidity of childhood obesity in the US has to be realized. This paper outlines an intervention plan that must be employed if there has to be a reduction in the prevalence of obesity among children in the US by 2020.
Scholarly Articles Review
There has been a continued growth in the instances of obesity in the world and the US. Although statistics in the US denote a slight reduction in the prevalence of obesity, the current statistics are still on the higher side (Leung, Agaronov, Grytenko & Yenko, 2012). Cases of childhood obesity in the US in the past twenty years have been on the rise. Within this period, the prevalence of this condition among children aged six to eleven years rose to 19.6 percent from 11. 3 percent (Leung, Agaronov, Grytenko & Yenko, 2012). In the twelve to nineteen year's age group, the prevalence rose to 18.1 percent from 10.5 percent (Leung, Agaronov, Grytenko & Yenko, 2012).
On the other hand, Robbins, Mallya, Polansky and Schartz (2012) document that as of 2009, childhood obesity in kids aged six to nineteen years in the USA stood at 18.2 percent. These authors contend that statistics in childhood obesity have shown a notable drop. However, they contend more effort must be put in if further reductions have to be realized. Robbins, Mallya, Polansky and Schartz (2012) contend that the school environment is a significant context in which surveillance and prevention of obesity can be achieved. They opine that most children under the age of eighteen spend most to their time in school. Therefore, targeting the school environment is beneficial in the health promotion campaigns that target to reduce childhood obesity. If childhood obesity is not addressed in time, it is a primer for the development of diabetes mellitus, asthma and hypertension now or later in life. It may also lead to the development of cancer. Childhood obesity also shortens life expectancy of those affected (Leung, Agaronov, Grytenko & Yenko, 2012).
The modification of dietary intake has been second as one of the major strategies that ought to be undertaken in the quest to minimize childhood obesity. However, several studies have found that a sedentary lifestyle is the chief contributor to the development of childhood obesity (Leung, Agaronov, Grytenko & Yenko, 2012). Children in aged 6-18 years have been found to spend a third of their time watching media: TV, playing video games or using their personal computers (Leung, Agaronov, Grytenko & Yenko, 2012). New studies have added to this list two other activities: attending classes and taking less physical classes such as piano lessons. On this note, advocating a change in a sedentary lifestyle in this group is necessary (Leung, Agaronov, Grytenko & Yenko, 2012).
On the other hand, Berkowitz and Borchard (2009) recommend several strategies that ought to be taken. First, they suggest that the federal government must heighten the promotion of physical activity campaigns. Secondly, efforts ought to be geared towards the preservation of the park and physical activity areas; this also means creating more areas for physical activities. Thirdly, it is paramount to involve families with parental obesity in the obesity-prevention strategies. Fourth, these authors recommend that parenting lifestyles that champion physical activity among kids ought to be embraced. Besides, parents ought to be guided on how to make healthy dietary choices. Berkowitz and Borchard (2009) further denote that literature has suggested the use of social learning theory in which policymakers partner with parents in promoting physical activity among kids. If the success has to be registered, it is paramount to assess the readiness of parents to implement the necessary changes such as dietary changes and change in parenting styles. Furthermore, it is pivotal to employ counseling techniques, guiding parents, developing an action plan, assessing the challenges and opportunities involved, as well as listening to the feedbacks of parents.
This health promotion plan seeks to reduce childhood obesity by 30 percent by 2020. Therefore, this program will take six years. The target group here is all school-going American kids under the age of eighteen. School going children are the main target because the program will indulge both public and private schools. In line with this, the enactment of governing policies will be essential.
At the moment, results have shown that in the past two decades, the prevalence of childhood obesity has been on the rise both globally and in the USA. However, the USA has realized as a small drop in the prevalence of this condition although the cases are still high. In addition, research has shown that effective programs call for the involvement of parents, the school, and children if success has to be realized.
Nurses will play an integral part in the facilitation of this plan. Firstly, local and national leaders will be involved in the formulation of policies that will enhance the enforcement of the intervention plan. In other words, these policies will require public and private schools with children under the age of eighteen to comply with the set regulations. In addition, schools will be compelled to cooperate with the program personnel in order to enhance the smooth running of the plan.
The plan will involve the following strategy. All schools will be expected to keep data on the BMI of all students. Nurses will be assigned different schools where they will help each school to examine and keep a record of the BMI of all students. The examination will be conducted four times in a year (after every three months). The data collected will help the program managers to plan appropriately, as well as asses the success of the program. Secondly, schools will be given a ratified physical exercise program. The physical exercise strategy will help in minimizing the effects of sedentary life types. Students will be grouped in different categories depending on their BMI. Those at risk will be given customized support.
Local leaders will be urged to provide funding for the construction of social amenities such as gyms and parks in all residential areas. The standardized program will ensure that all students take part in physical activities that are the same. The third step will endeavor to educate schools and parents on decent dietary choices. In other words, a nutritious and healthy diet will be proposed for all schools. This plan will educate schools and parents on the foods they expect to give their children. Food stores and suppliers will also be involved in the program; they will be educated on the foods to stock.
In addition, parents will be educated on how to use better parenting styles that are geared towards helping kids live a healthy life. In this case, workshops will be conducted after every three months to educate parents on best parenting styles. Schools will play a big role in bringing the parents on board. Media campaigns through print, TV, and online channels will also be intensified.
In the first two workshops of every year, parents will be guided on how to execute their parenting roles, as well as dietary choices that they ought to make. Again, schools will be educated on the proposed physical activities plan.
The final two workshops will be geared towards assessing the progress of the plan in any given year. It is expected that by the end of each year, parents and schools will have mastered appropriate dietary choices, and schools will have embraced the physical activities program. Food stores should have stocked the proposed food stuff, and parents should have the know-how about foods to buy or avoid. Assessments will help in gauging the progress of the plan. It is expected that after the assessment, obesity or overweight among the target group will have reduced. Nurses will play a vital role in examining students and taking their BMI measurements, counseling parents, educating parents and teachers on the best practices, as well as food retailers.
In summary, this paper has shown that the prevalence of obesity among children under the age of eighteen is still high in the USA. The proposed plan will take six years and it aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity among school-going children by thirty percent. Nurses will be at the forefront of this plan. They will play a vital role in examining students and taking their BMI measurements, counseling parents, educating parents and teachers on the best practices, as well as food retailers. In each year, there will be four examinations. In the first phase of each year, teachers, parents, children, and food retailers will be educated on what is expected of them. The BMI of students will also be taken. The second phase will dwell on the evaluation of the strategies involved.
Berkowitz, B., and Borchard, M. (2009). Advocating for the Prevention of Childhood Obesity: A Call to Action for Nursing. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 14(1), 1-10. http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/T ableof Contents/Vol142009/No1Jan09/Prevention-of-Childhood-Obesity.html
Karnik, S., & Karenekar, A. (2012). Childhood Obesity: A Global Public Health Crisis. The International Journal of Preventative Medicine, 3(1), 1-7. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278864/
Leung, M., Agaronov, A., Grytenko, K., & Yenko, M. (2012). Intervening to Reduce Sedentary Behaviors and Childhood Obesity among School-Age Youth: A Systematic Review of Randomized Trials. Journal of Obesity, pp. 1-14. Retrieved from http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobe/2012/685430/
Robbins, J. M., Mallya, G., Polansky, M., Schwarz, D. F. (2012). Prevalence, Disparities, and Trends in Obesity and Severe Obesity among Students in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, School District, 2006–2010. Prev Chronic Dis 2012; 9:120118. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2012/12_0118.htm