Childhood obesity has become an all so familiar topic of discussion among health organizations. Obesity is an increase in body weight resulting from excessive accumulation of body fat relative to lean body mass (Hockenberry, 2008). Childhood obesity, by either definition, has become an epidemic that every community is currently facing and should be correcting. The American Academy of Pediatrics defines a child at or above the 95th percentile as obese (Harper, 2006). Looking at the historical significance and natural life history it is not a surprise that childhood is addressed as one of Healthy People 2010's objectives (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000). Primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions can be done by agencies, the community, and especially the community health nurse to reduce childhood obesity. The first step in the effort is to correct a problem is look at the historical significance. Historical significance of the problem
Obesity has been linked to poor eating habits, overeating, lack of exercise, and health disorders among other things (American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 2009). Over the last few decades almost all of what is eaten today is enhanced with steroids and other growth hormones. It seems that most vegetables and animals such as cattle, pigs, and chickens are all force fed, causing them to gain weight faster. Thus, there is a greater surplus of food, therefore greater revenue. These hormones are passed, over time, to the consumer. Studies have shown that the end result being dramatic affect on individuals as it pertains to weight gain (Hockenberry, 2008). Hormones are not the only factor that has contributed over time to childhood obesity. Along the same lines, how food is prepared is also a factor that contributes to childhood obesity. America has become a fast food nation, where everything is quick and fast. No longer are people preparing home cooked meals, but are opting for more convenient foods. McDonalds, Taco Bell, and Pizza parlors are on almost every other corner. Food preparation that consists of deep frying instead of baking or grilling has been linked to obesity. These foods are loaded with grease, saturated fats, and empty calories. The body is not provided with nutritional food and stores all these fats and sugars to convert to energy. As a result, these foods are burned at a faster pace and are unable to meet the bodies’ demands. Over time, the body begins to store these foods resulting in unwanted, excess fat. The preparation of these restaurants is not the only factor they contribute to childhood obesity. Fast food restaurants also offer convenience factor that plays into childhood obesity. The average work day for Americans has become elongated resulting in an increase in the purchase of already prepared foods. These foods are also loaded with carbohydrates and preservatives that play a major role in weight gain and obesity. The era of the single income household is all but gone. No longer does the male work and the woman stay home to take care of the house and kids. Most households in this country have been forced to be run by multiple wage earners. Due to this, more and more parents are finding it easier to just stop by their favorite fast food restaurant, rather than cook. Besides fast food restaurants there are other convenience things that allow the child to not be as active which increase the chance of obesity. The invention of the internet and the gaming console have made it convenient for children to stay in and be entertained rather than being entertain with physical activity (Nies and McEwen, 2007). More and more people are purchasing home computers, and many homes have more than one. This, coupled with gaming consoles (Wii, X-box, Playstation) has enticed children to sit more and “play,” rather than get up, get out, and play. No longer...
References: American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry (2009, May). Obesity in children and teens.
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Hockenberry, M. J., & Wilson, D. (2008).Essentials of Pediatric Nursing (8 ed., pp. 551-56). St Louis, Missouri: Mosby.
Nies, M.A., & McEwen, M. (2007). Community/public health of populations (4thed., pp.711-
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