NUR/405 Healthy Communities: Theory and Practice
October 31, 2011
Beth Edwards, MSN, FNP- BC
Caesar Rodney School District
Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald
7 Front Street
Wyoming, DE 19934
I am writing to you as the parent of two Caesar Rodney School District students and a Registered Nurse currently pursuing a BSN through the University of Phoenix. I understand we share an interest in promoting healthy eating habits and providing nutritious meals for the children attending school within the Caesar Rodney School District. I commend you for instituting a child nutrition program and the addition of the Caesar Rodney High School Wellness Center providing for student’s health needs. Therefore, I trust you will share my concern regarding childhood obesity. The United Nations Health Decade has partnered with the World Health Organization in acknowledging the epidemic of obesity as a global issue, affecting both adults and children. In an effort to improve global health, the UN Global Health Decade has established Millennium Development Goals to reduce death and disease worldwide. The threat to health caused by obesity is rapidly growing within the United States and other developed countries. Obesity is so widespread and commonplace; it has replaced the conventional threats to global health once held by malnutrition and infectious disease. More than one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). The unhealthy lifestyles and lack of nutritional knowledge is being passed down from obese adults to their children. Therefore, childhood obesity has become more prevalent, jeopardizing the health of future adults. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, since 1980 the number of overweight children has doubled and the number of adolescent has tripled (World Health Organization, 2011). Community involvement from schools, government, and families is necessary to put an end to the devastating impact obesity has on the health of future Americans.
Obesity is characterized by excessive subcutaneous and visceral fat caused by an imbalance between the amount of daily calories consumed and the amount of daily energy expenditure. When highly dense calorie rich foods are consumed in excess of the amount of energy exhausted during physical exercise, the excess energy is stored in adipose tissue as fat. The anthropometrical measurement used to determine an individual’s healthy weight is Body Mass Index. BMI is calculated using a person’s height and weight, providing a reliable indicator of body fatness and is routinely used to screen for weight categories leading to health problems (CDC, 2011). Diet related chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes mellitus has been associated with obesity, with more children and adolescents being diagnosed. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2011), medical problems are common in obese children and adolescents affecting cardiovascular health, the endocrine system, and mental health; increasing the risk of premature death. The health problems experienced by overweight and obese children directly affects their education, causing missed school days related to doctor appointments and illness. Overweight and obese children become the targets of bullying and lack a sense of social acceptance by their peers. Obese children suffer from social and emotional complications of depression and low self-esteem, which affects academic performance. However, the complications of childhood obesity can be prevented by healthy changes to lifestyle, diet, and physical activity.
Delaware Division of Public Health (2002), has identified an increase in the number of the number of overweight and obese statewide, 36.2% overweight and 22.4% obese. Obviously, our community is not immune to the obesity epidemic. Many of the children attending CR schools eat a diet...