Childhood obesity involves having excess body fat in children and which affects their overall wellbeing and health, with the number of affected children rising steadily. The primary cause of obesity is the ingestion of excess calorie intake and lack of utilizing the calories even though other numerous factors exist that predispose one to become obese. This includes unhealthy eating habits, age, physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles (Deckelbaum & Williams 2001: 239S) as well as over-exposure to advertisement of high calorie foods, certain illnesses and heredity (Lawlor et al. 2008: e33) among others.
The reasons that childhood obesity must be curbed is because, the condition is a principal risk factor to numerous health disorders in children such as glucose intolerance, hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes to possible death. Others include insulin insensitivity, asthma, atherosclerosis as well as mental health concerns such as low self-esteem and depression (Ravens-Sieberer, Redegeld, & Bullinger 2001: 63-5). This paper presents an annotated bibliography on studies done on the subject of obesity, including the predictive factors and causes, impacts and consequences as well as prevention.
Dehghan, Mahshid Noori Akhtar-Danesh and Anwar T Merchant.
2005 Childhood Obesity, Prevalence and Prevention. Nutrition Journal 4(24): 1-8. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-4-24.
With severe obesity in young children defined in terms of >99th percentile of a child’s BMI or body mass index, in relation to gender and age conventions, researchers have identified an increasing number of childhood obesity cases of over 10 percent in America. Borrowing from the maxim that prevention is better than cure, this study emphasizes the need for the prevention of the increase in childhood obesity cases as many predisposing factors are modifiable. Primarily, the authors assert that the most effective prevention interventions should be focused on changing nutritional diets and the built environment as well as promotion of physical activity. The authors acknowledge that integrating identified interventions in schools, pre-school institutions and providing after-school services can aid in dealing with this challenge. This study contributes to the topic, in that it provides a framework with which appropriate interventions can be identified and implemented.
Flores, G and H Lin
2013 Factors Predicting Severe Childhood Obesity in Kindergarteners. International Journal of Obesity 37: 31–39.
Considering the negative consequences tied to childhood obesity, an in-depth understanding of factors that predispose children to obesity is invaluable in the formulation and implementation of effective and appropriate solutions. This study purposed to identify predictors and potential risk factors tied to severe obesity in young school children, kindergarten level, considering that the young generation is mankind’s future. Conducted as a longitudinal study involving 6,800 children from a representative national sample, the authors found out that gestational diabetes, maternal severe obesity, drinking coffee or tea before bedtime or between meals for 2-year olds and consumption of sugary drinks at least weekly are predictors of severe obesity in kindergarteners. The authors identified low predictors of severe obesity such as weekly consumption of fruit among others and concluded that various prenatal, parental and early childhood elements are strong predictors of kindergarteners’ severe obesity. This study contributes to the topic, in that it provides direction and insightful pointers towards severe obesity prevention.
Reilly, John J and J Kelly
2011 Long-term Impact of Overweight and Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence on Morbidity and Premature Mortality in Adulthood: Systematic Review. International Journal of Obesity 35: 891–898.
Conducted as a systematic review of obesity-related research spanning over 7 years, this study sought to identify the long term impacts of childhood obesity, that is, the effects of childhood obesity that persists till adulthood in relation to illnesses and potential death. The authors chose age span between birth and eighteen years as the appropriate measure for childhood obesity and the related effects persisting into adulthood, where they found out that four out of five subjects were at a high risk of premature death in adulthood. With regards to physical morbidity, the study found an increased risk of cardiovascular related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and ischemic heart disease persisting into adulthood while concluding that much evidence is existent that shows childhood obesity as having negative effects persisting into adulthood. This study provides support to reasons why childhood obesity should be curbed.
Sidik, Sherina M and Rozali Ahmad.
2004 Childhood Obesity: Contributing Factors, Consequences and Intervention. Malaysian Journal of Nutrition 10(1): 13-22.
Cardiovascular related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and ischemic heart disease are identified as some of the long term effects of childhood obesity with this study adding others that are of a respiratory, endocrine, gastrointestinal as well as psychosocial nature. This study provides a comprehensive and detailed study of obesity including its etiology, prevalence and trends, consequences as well as appropriate interventions for this ever increasing challenge. Interestingly, the authors identify other implications related to childhood obesity and its long terms effects including the increase in economic costs expended in healthcare settings and national social security schemes. Citing information provided by the World Health Organization, the author show childhood obesity has not only increased in the United States but also globally including in developing nations such as China. This study provides invaluable and comprehensive information in one text about childhood obesity, which can inform prevention measures and interventions.
2011 Etiology, Treatment, and Prevention of Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence: A Decade in Review. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(1): 129 – 152.
With reference to the increasing cases of childhood obesity, this study reviews progress of research conducted on childhood obesity spanning a decade with much focus directed towards addressing the complexity of the problem that is childhood obesity. The author analyses the definitions provided for obesity and overweight, the physiology and psychosocial elements tied to these phenomenon and the related demographics in United States as well as at the global level. The genetic and environmental influences related to childhood obesity including energy homeostasis and physical activity or inactivity among others, are also analyzed. The relevant interventions can be seen as quite complex but possible even though it requires much individual input, which can be quite difficult. The questions provided in the study’s conclusion, provides an insightful checklist and framework that change agents can utilize in formulation and implementation of effective interventions.
- Deckelbaum, R.J. and Williams, C.L. 2001 Childhood Obesity: The Health Issue. Obesity Research, 9(4): 239S-243S
- Dehghan, Mahshid with Noori Akhtar-Danesh and Anwar T Merchant. 2005 Childhood Obesity, Prevalence and Prevention. Nutrition Journal 4(24): 1-8. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-4-24.
- Flores, G and H Lin, 2013 Factors Predicting Severe Childhood Obesity in Kindergarteners. International Journal of Obesity 37: 31–39.
- Lawlor, D.A. with Timpson, N.J., Harbord, R.M., Leary, S., Ness, A., McCarthy, M.I., Frayling, T.M., Hattersley, A.T. and Smith, G.D. 2008 Exploring the Developmental Overnutrition Hypothesis Using Parental-Offspring Associations and FTO as an Instrumental Variable. PLoS Medicine 2008, 5(3):e33. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050033.
- Reilly, JJ and Kelly, J. 2011 Long-term Impact of Overweight and Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence on Morbidity and Premature Mortality in Adulthood: Systematic Review. International Journal of Obesity 35: 891–898.