Evidence-BasedCARE SHEETAuthorsChloe Garrison, RNKierstin Mathis, RNYolisma Rivera, RNCynthia Wurth, RNApril 14, 2018 Childhood Obesity What We Know Childhood obesity is a worldwide issue that has worsened over time. In fact, childhood obesity rates have tripled since 1970. BMI is a screening tool used to measure obesity. Having a BMI at or greater than the 95 percentile is considered obese. At approximately six years of age, one in two obese children will become obese as an adult and one in 10 non-obese children will become obese when they reach adulthood (4) There is extreme obesity in 6% of children who are between six and nine years of age and 8% in children between 12 and 19 years of age (12) The Centers for Disease Control (2018) suggests that children with obesity are at higher risk of having other chronic health conditions and diseases such as: asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type II diabetes, and risk factors for heart disease (3) Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes type II, and liver disease which only affected adults, is now affecting children as well due to the higher incidence of obesity (12) Children who are obese tend to be teased or bullied which leads to low self-esteem, depression, and social isolation.
Risks for developing Childhood Obesity: Genetics, metabolism, unhealthy/inadequate sleeping patterns.
Socioeconomic status: Healthy foods are more expensive and not everyone has the funds to provide a well-balanced diet. Unhealthy eating behaviors: participants’ childhood experiences influenced how they feed their children (10) Lack of physical activity or energy imbalance. A longer time watching television is associated with girls and obesity (2) Easier access to fast food, a sedentary lifestyle, larger portion sizes; and parents’ lack of awareness of what constitutes childhood obesity, recommended physical activity, and portion sizes for children, have contributed to obesity in children (12) Impact of Parents Weight Children will model their parents eating habits. Family has a determinant role during the learning process of the alimentation of the children and the parenting styles, as well as their interaction with the children are significant for the formation of the infant’s eating habits (9) When obese parents continue a sedentary lifestyle, especially in weekends, their children model the sedentary behavior, increasing the risk of childhood obesity (8) There is a positive correlation between parent’s BMI and child’s weight percentiles, with 69% of parents and 40% of children being overweight or obese (12)What We Can Do Education is key when creating a prevention program towards reducing childhood obesity. Educate children and motivate them to get involved in family meal planning. Empowering the individual to act in the search for solutions to problems to their surroundings (7) Education should include teaching parents and children to accurately measure adequate portion sizes, the recommended daily physical activity, and healthy eating habits (12). The CDC recommends 60 minutes of physical activity per day Prevention should be geared towards increasing public school education for children and their parents regarding obesity prevalence, associated health risk factors, and the financial burden it creates in our country (12) Communicate effectively with your children. It is important that parents understand how to approach parent-adolescent conversations related to healthy eating, physical activity, and weight in a helpful and healthy way (1) Encourage parents to maintain healthier food environments at home, provide consistent and healthy messages about food choices, and engage other caregivers in the process of making healthy food choices. Making changes incrementally can help ease children into dietary changes (5) Encourage healthy eating choices and learn about The Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Resources Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc., can be used as educational tools that promise results to increase the success of interventions (6) Family and community resources for food assistance programs like WIC, breakfast/lunch assistance at school, etc., and/or discounted physical activity classes such as sports or after school programs The use of an on-site coach, motivational speaking, and health professional modeling (11) Implementation of health lessons into school curriculum (12) A support group, a school teacher, or counselor available for emotional support for children who want to change their health habitsReferences1. Berge, J. M., MacLehose, R. L., Eisenberg, F., Fulkerson, K., and Neumark-Sztainer, A. (2015). 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