Child Obesity




Thepaper discusses childhood obesity as a policy issue, which isconsidered a major public health problem. As evidenced by severalresearch studies, it is a significant predisposing risk factor tohealth problems experienced by children in future. Moreover, itmaycause low self-esteem that can affect an individual adversely. Theobjective of this paper is to provide a broad analysis of adverseeffects associated with obesity, which pose a threat to the public.The discussion also covers recommendations on how to sensitize thepublic regarding the condition. Literature review on previous studiesshall provide relevant data and information for the development ofthe policy. The information will focus on studies conducted by groupswith similar interests in developing a safe program for preventingobesity among children, as well as controlling the condition amongthose affected.


Childhoodobesity is a medical condition that affects children and adolescents.It mainly occurs when the child is above the average weightrecommended for his/her age and height. According to WHO (2013), 42million preschoolers are identified as overweight. In the UnitedStates, obesity among children and adults increases by 200-300% perannum (Ogden &amp Carol, 2010).

Thetopic is of importance to the nursing profession since it leads tohealth challenges that often affect both children and adults. Theproblems include poor self-esteem, depression, high cholesterol, highblood pressure, and diabetes. Several studies suggest that obesityduring childhood could lead to the development of serious illnesseslater in life. For example, diabetes type II is high amongst Hispanicchildren due to genetic susceptibility. Besides, obese children havean increased risk for developing, asthma, elevated cholesterol, jointproblems, depression, and anxiety. Social and physical effects ofobesity include hyperlipidemia, gall bladder disease, increasedgrowth in puberty and then stunting, for females there is early onsetof puberty, pancreatitis, obstructive apnea, hypertension, polycysticovary syndrome, and damage to the cardiovascular system. A 20-yearepidemiologic research conducted by Bogalusa heart study identifiedthat atherosclerosis has its origins in early childhood. Obesity inchildren also leads to reduced endurance, performance and gross motordevelopment (Childhoodobesity,2015). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), children at risk for overweight are those above the 85thpercentile body mass index, BMI. It further defines childhoodoverweight as a body mass index at or above 95thpercentile for age and sex specific BMI (CDC &amp PNCHS, 2007).


Researchon health-related and psychosocial impacts of overweight childrenhave raised public concern, in the meantime, the reports indicatethat childhood obesity continues to adulthood (Biro &amp Wien,2010). The fundamental cause of obesity is the caloric imbalancethat entails consumption of a higher amount of calories thanexpended. At home, parents control the access to food and influencephysical activity by promoting or discouraging certain types ofactivities. Various unhealthy behaviors have contributed to thedifferent intake and output of calories resulting in obesity. Some ofthe unwise decisions include overeating and binging, unwise snackingdecisions, unhealthy eating patterns, and lack of physical exercise(Karnik &amp Kanekar, 2012).

Theabove literature indicates the need to provide information on theright calorie intake to parents and the need for physical exercisethrough media campaigning. Besides, since behavioral habits areacquired in early childhood, it is imperative for health policies todesign measures during the formative years. Such interventionsinclude the provision of breastfeeding and weaning information formothers (Moore &amp Bailey, 2013).


Thepolicy is proposed in line with the youngest loser programimplemented by Beyond Therapy Pediatric group in Mississippi. Theprogram aimed at children and obtained support from local businesses,city’s recreation facilities, exercise facilities, physicians aswell as celebrities. Although the focus of the program was thechildren, family involvement was considered significant. Theactivities in the program improved the health status of the childrenby helping them loose up to 20lbs. At the other end, some childrengained 7 lbs. after the program (Moore &amp Bailey,2013).

Theprimary purpose of this program is to address behavior by focusing onthe entire family. It aims at providing nutritional information andsuggesting behaviors that could be incorporated into the family’slifestyle by targeting the parents (Karnik et al., 2012).

Goalsand Options of the Policy

Parentsare influential in children conduct. Genetics allow the children tomimic parents mannerisms including eating. They are instrumental inproviding a child’s basic needs such as food. Promotion of healthyfamily habits within the home environment is necessary tosuccessfully target child obesity. The goals of the policy are todevelop programs aimed at educating the parents so they canunderstand how to modify their behavior and diet choices as well asphysical exercise. The program shall focus on providing weaning andbreastfeeding information to mothers since breastfeeding plays a rolein reducing obesity. It shall entail media campaigns focusing on thefamily by offering diet information and teaching the parents on howto read food labels, and create a healthy food plate (Moore &ampBailey,2013).

Evaluationsof Options

Clinicalsettings and learning institutions are valuable resources forchildhood obesity studies. However, there is less exploration ofspecific intervention programs such providing information on breastfeeding and weaning, media campaigns, and government-initiatedregulations. Various studies in the past have supported numerousprograms such as educating people on diets, exercise and modificationof behaviors. Evidence supports for breastfeeding and weaningcampaigns and regulatory issues that focus on the family as a vitalcomponent of therapy and can be influential to the outcome of thechildren. Although there exists no model or theory that explains theinvolvement of the family in promoting behavioral change, familyparticipation, irrespective of the structure of the treatmentprogram, is an effective mode of intervention. Besides, thedepartment of health notes that improving on exercise as well asdietary habits of the whole family is a good way to reduce childhoodobesity(Departmentof Health, 2013).


Educatingwomen on breastfeeding and weaning. Breastfeeding reduces the chances of child obesity. Mothers shouldstart the weaning process when the baby is six months of age. Theeducation program will involve community-based nurses andcommissioning groups. They will provide guidelines that educatefamilies and their children about nutrition and good health (Campbellet al., 2001).

Mediacampaigns.The policy entails targeting families through media campaigns andhealthcare providers visiting the children and their family membersin their homes and at social gatherings. The campaigns shouldsensitize families together with the children on healthy diets,regular exercises, treatment and other ways of obesity prevention(Campbell et al., 2001).

Regulatoryissues.The government should put into place measures that all children andtheir parents while attending regular appointments and checkups inthe hospitals or clinics be enlightened as pertains to obesity andits adverse effects. In schools, there should be lessons taught tothe children regarding healthy lifestyles (Campbell et al., 2001).

Howto Find the Current Status

Thecurrent situation of obesity among children shall be obtained at theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention website that specializesin child obesity facts (CDC, 2015). The current statistics on obesitywill be used as baseline indicators for monitoring and evaluationpurposes to track policy implementation. The website observes thatchildhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled inadults. The number of obese children between the ages 6-11 increasedfrom 7% in 1980 to 19% in the year 2012 (CDC, 2015).

TheInvolved Level of the Government

Thepolicy aims at addressing the state level of obesity with apossibility of advancing to the federal government. The plan isaligned to facilitating the role of CDC in detecting and respondingto new and emerging health threats (CDC, 2014).


Thepolicy implementation will utilize the DECIDE model of policymaking.D, define the problem E, establish the criteria C, consideravailable alternatives I, identify the best amongst all availableoptions D, develop and implement a plan of action and E, evaluatethe solution and feedback where applicable. The rationale forchoosing this model is its ability to equip with the knowledgerequired to act in various situations that require decision-making(Berkowitz &amp Borchard, 2009).

1.0Defining the Problem- Week 1- 4

Mainactivities:Introduction and conducting focus group meetings brainstormingactivities on the current child obesity policies Determining thebarriers to child obesity control programs Identifying trends inchild obesity to guide the policy.

Keyparticipants:Mr. Heidi Blanc- the Chief, obesity prevention and control branch-CDC Nutritional physicians from national hospitals.

Expectedoutput:clearly defined problem and solutions to identified barriers inpromoting healthy habits.

2.0Establishing the Criteria- Week 5-7

Mainactivities:Identification of variables through literature review based on pastobesity intervention programs. Identification of the population,sample, and best data collection practices. Identification ofbaseline indicators for monitoring and evaluation purposesFormulation of key performance indicators

Expectedoutcome:Well-defined study variables, including the target population andsample for the program, are best practices for monitoring andevaluation.

3.0Considering Alternative Options- Week 8

Principalactivities:The literature review of the options used in the past interventionprograms and customizing the current program to any emergentsituation. Identification of intervention programs Identifyingpolicy related barriers and strengths.

Expectedoutcome:Customized approaches to address the emerging issues in familynutrition and health.

4.0Identifying Amongst the Best Alternatives- Week 9

Primaryactivity:Review of identified strategies and benchmarking with recommendedworld standards.

Expectedoutcome:Best alternatives customized to world nutritional standards.

5.0Develop and Implement a Plan of Action- Week 10-11

Primaryactivity:Strategizing women education plans, designing media campaigns andimplementation of family-based intervention programs Designing statehealth related regulations Assignment of duties to physicians.

Expectedoutcome:Executed program.

6.0Evaluate the Solution and Feedback -Week 12-17

PrimaryActivity: Data collection, analysis, generation of indices and reportwriting.

ExpectedOutcome:The final report detailing the effectiveness of the program andrecommendation to the state actors for implementation


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Campbell,K., Waters, E., O’Meara, S., &amp Summerbell, C. (2001).Interventions for screening obesity in childhood: A systematicreview. ObesityReviews,149-57.

CDC,&amp PNCHS. (2007). Health,United States.Washington, DC: U.S.: Government Printing Office.

Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2014, April 14), (n.d).Mission, role and pledge. U.S. Departmentof Health &amp Human Services.web. Retrieved on 17 July 2016 from

Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),(2015, Aug. 27). Childhood obesity facts. Web. Retrieved on 20 July2015 from

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Moore,K. &amp Bailey, J. (2013). Parental Perspectives of a ChildhoodObesity Intervention in Mississippi: A Phenomenological Study. Thequalitative report,18 (96), 1-22