The Perceptions About Childhood Obesity in Kuwait

Introduction

This descriptive/explorative study will examine 12 public schools found in Kuwait. The aim of this study is to overview of the situation with childhood obesity in Kuwait. A research and proposal to the situation are offered including a review of both background and external factors within schools in the country. 300 students of each sex would be randomly picked up from the schools, to get a total of about 600 students. After approval permission from parents, questionnaires would be issued to them with the anthropometric measurements. Their heights alongside their weights would be noted to get their respective BMI (Singer, 2009). Other questionnaires would also be given to them to take home to their parents. These filled questionnaires by parents are to be handed in the next day by the students. Focus group would be undertaken from various angles. First, 60 teachers, 5 from each school would be interviewed. Finally, officials from the ministries of education and health would be interviewed. We are planning to involve 12 officials, two from each province.

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Findings: The research offers the findings based on the level of overweight and obesity in schoolchildren aged 11-14 and on the role of parents and teachers in formation of such healthy lifestyle in Kuwait. The research results also provide the information about the effectiveness of the state health promotion programs launched by schools aimed at reducing the cases of overweight and obesity.

Originality/value – The research study will be useful not only for Kuwait citizens and schoolchildren but also for other health professionals and individuals who are searching for the new ways of dealing with negative effects of obesity.

Research Details

Research aims and significance

The problem of childhood obesity has become a national problem. Looking at children with overweight, it is impossible to avoid thinking about the problems such students are going to suffer from in the future. The seriousness of the problem is defined by the World Health Organization (2011) which states that overweight leads to health problems. This problem is also ranked as the fifth in the rate of the reasons for morbidity and mortality. Considering the statistical data, WHO (2011) offers the following numbers, about 2.8 million of adults die annually. The number of obese people doubled since 1980s. Obesity becomes a real disaster for children as according to the International Obesity Task Force, 22 million children aged 5 and below suffer from obesity (in Wang & Lobstein, 2006). The fundamental cause of obesity is misbalance between calories consumption and expenditure. It is difficult to talk about the style of life children aged five and below as in this case parents are responsible for this. However, when children grew up they continue to copy the style of life of their parents. Thus, the parental influence is important while considering the reasons for obesity.

To understand the connection between obesity and government, it should be mentioned that creating different policies aimed at supporting family and sports, government contributes to the lifestyle of future schoolchildren. Thus, the connection between government and parents in the problems of childhood obesity is obvious. Thus, to solve the issue, the research should be conducted among those who affect the childhood obesity. The possibility to change the perception of the lifestyle of parents and children aged 11-14 may result in elimination of the problem for future generations as children always copy their parents. The ability to cope with the problem on the early stages may reduce the number of obese children and the health problems in the adult age.

Therefore, the study is conducted with the purpose to establish the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children aged between 10 and 14 years in Kuwait. To achieve this purpose, the research is aimed at exploring the perceptions and attitudes of parents and teachers about childhood obesity in Kuwait and at determining the government policies aimed at addressing overweight and obesity among Kuwaiti schoolchildren.

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Research Methodology

The research is going to be conducted in twelve schools of Kuwait and its provinces. Each of selected students will be offered a questionnaire for their parents. Randomly selected five teachers from each of the schools are going to be interviewed (60 teachers in total). The officials from the Ministry of Health and Education will be invited to take part in the study. Twelve randomly selected officials are going to be interrogated.

The basic data for research are the questionnaires completed by the study participants. Measurement of students’ height and weight could be another method for data collection. Observation method is going to be applied with the purpose to check the behavior of students at school and to compare and contrast it with the information presented in questionnaires. Generalization of the results would form the basis for data analyzing (Ader, 2008). The research results are going to be presented in the form of tables and charts which are going to indicate the comparison of the level of obesity through a particular period of time whereas the pie chart would give the percentage of the increase of the cases of obesity throughout the years. The line graph would show the slope or trend of the situation.

Participation

Participation details

The participants involved in the research would comprise several personalities in the society. A total of six groups would make up the participants. These are the students, parents, teachers, principals, officials from the health ministry and officials from the education ministry. 600 students would be selected from six public schools of the provinces of Kuwait aged 11-14. Each selected student will go home with a questionnaire for parents. Parents will have to answer the question, fill out the questionnaire and pass it to their children who are to bring the paper at school the next day. The participants of the research are going to be informed about the research beforehand with the main reasons of the research and the predicted results. The subjects are going to be informed how the information they are going to provide will be used for the research. The confidentiality of the data is guaranteed.

Participants

Generally, 672 subjects are going to participate in the research where 600 are parents of school children (300 boys and 300 girls), 60 teachers and 12 officials from the health care and education departments. The research is going to be conducted in six public schools of the provinces of Kuwait among students aged 11-14. The exclusion criteria are the geographical location of schools (provinces of Kuwait and age of students (11-14 years old).

Source of participation

For a successful research, three groups from the six have to be approached prior to the date of data collection. The four school principals contradiction idea will be approached a week before the prior date. This would give them enough time to plan for and organize the students as well as the teachers. So, each would be appointed its own time of visit, after permission is granted. Officials from the ministries would also be approached prior to the interview day. Contact numbers and emails will be retrieved from their websites and then an appointment booked on different days for the officials of each ministry.

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Explain how you will recruit your participants and invite them to participate

The recruitment of participants would involve various methods, depending on the target group. Selecting students, the researchers are going to talk to the ministry of education to make sure that they are supported and school government is not going to contradict. After this, the communication with the heads of the schools is going to take place to make sure that they do not have any objections. The researchers are to stress on the importance of the research and its novelty. The dates are going to be set in accordance with the working schedule of all the groups of the participants. Parents are going to be informed about the research through the head of the school. The schools’ database would provide the number of students with frequent problems caused by obesity. From the health ministry’s database, the researcher could obtain figures of children aged 11-14 who have gone to hospitals and diagnosed with obesity or over-weightiness.

Explain the steps to be taken to ensure that participation will be purely voluntary and not influenced

The participants of the research are going to be informed about the confidentiality and the volunteer nature of the research. This is significant in the relation to students who are to bring the agreement from their parents who do not mind to take part in the study and answer a couple of questions. The researcher is to stress the importance of the research for the whole society. Considering the relationships between teachers and students and teachers and parents, the teachers should be used as the linking means for communicating with parents and children while the research. Parents are to be aware of all the details of the research to make sure to answer the questions of parents if they fail to ask the research the team.

Detail the steps to be taken to ensure that the conduct of the research will not interfere with the primary teaching role of the class

The researchers are to gather teachers and stress that the research which is going to be conducted will not interfere into the teaching process. The researchers are to make sure that the interviews and instructions are going to be held apart from the learning period and will take the minimum of time. All the data is going to be offered in detail but in concise form, without deviation from the topic.

Even though the arguments in favor of the research are strong, the researchers are to make sure that students will have a desire to participate in the research. It is important for teachers to devote an hour of the learning time to the problem of obesity in the future. The health problem should be considered along with social one as in many cases obese children prefer not to communicate with others to avoid mockery. However, in many cases this is just the psychological problem which has nothing in common with reality (Streib, 2007). The ability to conduct the research may help other students get read of extra weight and lead a normal life with peers.

Adverse events relating to the inappropriate release of personal information

During such a research, not many adverse events would affect its continuity or completion. The researchers will ask research questions which do not have much personalization and does not give reasons for researchers to answer wrong. The confidentiality policy of the study may also help reduce the level of distrust.

Will the project outcomes be made public at the end of the project

The report of the research is going to become public in the future.

How will you protect the privacy of individuals in any report / publication arising from this project?

The research participants are going to be informed that the privacy in going to be met and the names of students, parents and teacher will not be included in the report, only the results obtained with their help.

Will a plain language report of the project outcomes be available to participants at the end of the project?

Before the report is going to be published, each of the subjects will receive the research result with the notification for waiting for the reply if some information seems contradicting to confidentiality policy.

References

Ader, H.J. (2008). Advising on Research Methods: Phases and initial steps in data analysis. New York: Johannes van Kessel.

Singer, V. (2009). Beyond BMI: Why doctors won’t stop using an outdated measure for obesity. Frost’s Meditation. Web.

Streib, L. (2007). World fattest countries. Forbes. Web.

Wang, Y. & Lobstein, T. (2006). Worldwide trends in childhood overweight and obesity. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 1, 11-25.

WHO (2011). Obesity and overweight. Web.

The Perceptions About Childhood Obesity in Kuwait
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