The Problem of American Children Obesity

Introduction

Obesity among children is regarded as one of the top health issues to address. It has been estimated that approximately 17% of American children and adolescents are obese or overweight, which is an alarming figure since adolescents with excessive body weight are likely to have major health issues in their adulthood (Montoya, Boursaw, Tigges, & Lobo, 2016). Hispanic children are more likely to be obese than the Caucasian population (Tucker & Lanningham-Foster, 2015). Researchers have paid significant attention to different aspects of the problem with the focus on the factors affecting children’s weight and the effectiveness of interventions related to obesity prevention. In many cases, quantitative designs were used to address research questions and hypotheses, but qualitative studies can also be found. The studies provide important insights into the matter, but they are also characterized by certain limitations that are quite similar.

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Major Factors

As far as the major factors affecting children’s weight are concerned, researchers identify cultural, socioeconomic, and biological factors. For instance, Franckle et al. (2015) note that insufficient sleep contributes to the development of obesity among Hispanic children. Many researchers focus on external factors such as maternal beliefs and behaviors. For example, it has been acknowledged that maternal chronic depression is associated with obesity in 7-year-old children (Audelo et al., 2016). Martinez, Rhee, Blanco, and Boutelle (2016) stress that maternal perspectives on children’s weight are an influential factor as well. The researchers also claim that socio-economic issues have a considerable effect as well. Children in rural areas are more likely to have excessive weight than their urban counterparts. Underprivileged groups are also more affected by the issue. It is found that Hispanic mothers understand that chubby children can have some health issues associated with their weight, but having a chubby child is still accepted or even preferable among Latino females.

Different Perspectives

The studies were reviewed to provide insights into the perspectives of different stakeholders. For instance, Martinez et al. (2016) explore mothers’ cultural beliefs concerning weight, children’s obesity, healthy lifestyles, and so on. Clearly, parental views and health habits are likely to be adopted by their children, so it is vital to evaluate these views and shape them. Montoya et al. (2016) shed light on children’s views on the matter. It is found that children do not assess their body weight adequately. They also tend to regard underweight figures as ideal. This information can help in developing effective interventions aimed at obesity prevention as informing people about appropriate body weight can help them maintain healthy lifestyles. Nurses should also know the opinions of all the stakeholders involved to educate patients and their parents.

Intervention Evaluation

It is noteworthy that various interventions aimed at preventing obesity have been implemented. Many researchers measure the effectiveness of such interventions and programs. For example, Tucker and Lanningham-Foster (2015) evaluate a nurse intervention implemented at two schools. Although the interventions had no significant effect on children’s body weight, they affected children’s health-related behavior. Children started consuming more vegetables and fruits. They also became more physically active. Therefore, the intervention was regarded as effective. Such assessments make it clear that an effective obesity prevention intervention should focus on tools used, stakeholders’ views, factors contributing to the development of the disorder, and so on.

Methods Used

One of the peculiarities of the studies on the matter is the choice of methods. In many cases, researchers implement quantitative research designs that focus on associations and correlations between different variables. However, qualitative methods are also employed. Martinez et al. (2016) examine maternal views on the matter with the use of focus groups discussions. Females shared their views and noted that they preferred having chubby children although they understood that obesity is a serious disorder. Qualitative methods have proved to be applicable as they help explore different factors affecting children’s weight.

Limitations and Future Research

One of the major similarities among the reviewed articles is associated with their limitations. All the studies in question involve the participants who live in quite small communities and are dispersed within a single state. The lack of data obtained across the nation is apparent. It can be beneficial to examine the correlations between different variables through the analysis obtained in different states. Besides, the sample size of the vast majority of the reviewed studies is quite limited. The data can hardly be generalized as only several dozens or hundreds of people participated. Therefore, it is crucial to implement studies that will involve thousands of people living in different states.

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Conclusion

On balance, it is possible to note that obesity among Hispanic children is quite a well-researched topic. Researchers shed light on different aspects affecting the development of the disorder. The effectiveness of nursing interventions is also assessed. The major limitations include a small sample and geographic homogeneity. It is also necessary to note that nurses’ views’ and knowledge on the matter have received little attention. It is unclear whether nurses have the necessary information concerning obesity among Hispanic children and different ways to address the problem.

References

Audelo, J., Kogut, K., Harley, K., Rosas, L., Stein, L., & Eskenazi, B. (2016). Maternal depression and childhood overweight in the CHAMACOS study of Mexican-American children. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 20(7), 1405-1414.

Franckle, R., Falbe, J., Gortmaker, S., Ganter, C., Taveras, E., Land, T., & Davison, K. (2015). Insufficient sleep among elementary and middle school students is linked with elevated soda consumption and other unhealthy dietary behaviors. Preventive Medicine, 74, 36-41.

Martinez, S., Rhee, K., Blanco, E., & Boutelle, K. (2016). Latino mothers’ beliefs about child weight and family health. Public Health Nutrition, 20(06), 1099-1106.

Montoya, C., Boursaw, B., Tigges, B., & Lobo, M. (2016). Mirror, mirror on the wall: Children’s preferences and self-perceptions of weight in a rural Hispanic community. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 30(6), 528-534.

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Tucker, S., & Lanningham-Foster, L. (2015). Nurse-led school-based child obesity prevention. The Journal of School Nursing, 31(6), 450-466.

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