According to research, over 41 million preschool children were overweight in 2016, in addition to 1.9 billion adults worldwide (Anderson & Butcher, 2006). Obesity is currently linked to many deaths worldwide and it being attributed to diseases like diabetes, ischemic heart disease, in addition to various other diseases, makes it even more dangerous and imperative to deal with. Despite the rising numbers of adult obesity, it is surprising that teenage and childhood obesity is on the rise. This paper aims at evaluating and suggesting various means of managing obesity, especially in children and adolescents in order to salvage the current situation.
Studies conducted all around the world indicate the rise in the number of children having or developing obesity (Davison & Birch, 2001). Despite the common belief that obesity results from the imbalance intake of energy in comparison to energy used, recent studies have shown the importance of considering an individual’s genetic background to determining the risk of developing obesity. Other scholars like Davison et al. (2001), have proposed that risk factors in children include other factors in addition to genetic backgrounds such as dietary intake, physical activity, and the lifestyle, for instance sedentary.
Other scholars who base their propositions on research have suggested that in adolescents, junk food is associated with being trendy, independent, in addition to using the food to obtain pleasure and achieve convenience (Anderson & Butcher, 2006). Therefore, adolescents end up associating healthy food tendencies with old and non-trendy lifestyles, in addition, it is absurd. As such, making it imperative to invest in the redefinition of the foodstuffs to the adolescents in order to reduce the risk of them developing obesity (Anderson & Butcher, 2006). Research shows that modern-day technology and innovations also play a significant role in increasing risk of developing obesity (Anderson & Butcher, 2006). For instance, the modern social tendencies prevent people from “normal” interactions since they interact online, thus removing the need to travel to meet individuals. As such, it creates the imbalance in the energy intake and corresponding usage, thus obesity develops.
The Review of Literature
The Body Mass Index (BMI) can be used to determine whether an individual is obese or not. In the determination of obesity prevalence by calculation of an individual’s BMI, the circumference of the weight and the thickness of skin-fold are commonly used (Davison & Birch, 2001). However, other scholars have suggested the ineffectiveness of BMI in the measurement of obesity risk. The opponents of the usage of BMI suggest that BMI is only useful if used on adults, but inefficient in children and adolescents since their bodies change as they continue with normal body growth (Davison & Birch, 2001).
Childhood obesity can be managed and treated in various ways by the use of programs and other methods supported by scholars and backed up with research. For instance, in dealing with childhood obesity, parents can use authoritative feeding (Bhadoria et al., 2015). This involves the determination of foods which are offered by the parents, allowing the specific children to select the food, and in parents in addition to medical practitioners providing rationale and advice concerning healthy food options (Bhadoria et al., 2015). This method is mostly associated with positive responses to healthy food intake and selection of healthy food.
Socially based methods can also be used, especially in championing healthy food intake and exercise among the adolescents to change their opinions on junk food. When done properly, it may lead to positive reception by the adolescents, when parents or nurses approach them with all matters exercise and healthy foods (Bhadoria et al., 2015).
Government intervention can also prove effective in such situations. This is because research shows that among the reasons teenagers and adolescents continue using junk food is pricing (Bhadoria et al., 2015). Governments can, therefore, employ the use of fiscal policies that will be targeted at increasing the taxes on junk food in addition to other unhealthy foodstuffs, thus deterring adolescents and other individuals; consequently, potentially reducing the risk of obesity.
To deal with a widespread issue such as obesity, all stakeholders in the society must join hands to combat it. For instance, the society as a whole should encourage the use of healthy foodstuffs in addition to living healthy lifestyles full of activity (Bhadoria et al., 2015). The society should also engage actively in opposing sedentary lifestyles, for instance, viewing of television and other electronic media should be discouraged to increase activity in members of the society, especially children (Bhadoria et al., 2015). Research also shows that in previous years, most children walked to school, but with the increase of insecurity among other factors has forced parents to be driving their kids to school (Fisher, 2006). Thus, with societal involvement in dealing with security issues and providing a more secure neighborhood, the relative activity of children will be increased and risk of developing obesity greatly reduced.
The government in collaboration with health-based institutions and practitioners should engage in active campaigns and initiatives to teach its citizens on various ways they can live better fulfilling lives with reduced obesity risks (Bhadoria et al., 2015). The government should encourage better health habits. Investment in the health sector to allow individuals attend regular checkups to ensure that risks of obesity are detected earlier. Also, the government should let health practitioners conduct health talks and campaigns to sensitize citizens on health issues, thus, dealing with the prevalent risk factors present at the time (Fisher, 2006).
Despite the main causes of obesity, state and health institutions should invest in research delving into other causes such as the psychological state of the individuals among other socio-cultural factors such as family factors, which may in one way or another increase the chances of adolescents and children developing obesity (Fisher, 2006). The research will, therefore, aid researchers and health practitioners develop methods of combating such risk factors, which may involve individual psychological aid in addition to counseling of family members.
Obesity cases have increased rapidly in the last four decades making it a crucial issue to deal with as it is now, contrary to previous beliefs, affecting children and adolescents. Obesity has also led to increases in other diseases, for instance, heart disease, diabetes, among others, whose prevalence rates increase rapidly if one suffers from obesity. As such, collective measures by all stakeholders including the individuals themselves is mandatory to salvage the situation before it gets out of hand.
- Anderson, P. M., & Butcher, K. F. (2006). Childhood obesity: Trends and potential causes. The Future of Children, 16(1), 19-45. doi:10.1353/foc.2006.0001
- Bhadoria, A., Sahoo, K., Sahoo, B., Choudhury, A., Sufi, N., & Kumar, R. (2015). Childhood obesity: Causes and consequences. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 4(2), 187. doi:10.4103/2249-4863.154628
- Davison, K. K., & Birch, L. L. (2001). Childhood overweight: a contextual model and recommendations for future research. Obesity Reviews, 2(3), 159-171. doi:10.1046/j.1467-789x.2001.00036.x
- Fisher, M. (2006). Treatment of eating disorders in children, adolescents, and young Adults. Pediatrics in Review, 27(1), 5-16. doi:10.1542/pir.27-1-5