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Childhood Obesity - What Is Childhood Obesity?

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Low-self-esteem can create a feeling of hopelessness and when children or adolescents lose hope in their lives improving, they can become depressed (CDC). Symptoms of depression would be a child not being interested in normal activities, sleeping or even crying more. They may try to hide their depression and portray their emotions at completely flat (CDC). Flat meaning they don’t show much feeling at all. Depression needs to be noticed and taken care of as soon as possible because it can lead to self- harm. Ironically, overweight children may turn to food as their emotional comfort. I say ironic because the amount of food they eat plays a role in becoming obese. They are adding more calories to their plates when their families and doctors are trying to have them reduce their plates.

The judging of their peers never ends. Ogden mentions, “Obese adolescents even begin to feel discriminated against. In their physical education class, they may be chosen last because of their physical appearance.” It puts a great deal of discomfort and embarrassment on a child. I’m pretty sure being an obese child and becoming an adult, you will continuously face discrimination because of your weight. It may be difficult landing jobs because of the stereotypes of being lazy, and having poor self-control (Ogden). That is completely wrong to judge someone off their looks of how well they can work.

Levels of Prevention

Primary prevention approach based upon action plans to discuss the social, cultural and environmental factors associated with childhood obesity. It also emphasizes on efforts to help children who are now at a healthy weight, keep up that status and to not become overweight or obese. It also includes efforts on influencing children in a healthy direction in both eating and activity behavior. An individual approach to prevention of obesity can start as early as infants and many studies showed a lower prevalence of obesity when babies are breast-fed for 6 months. When an infant is breast-fed the baby is eating to satisfy his or her inner cues than just being fed what the parent thinks what is best. “The CDC growth charts for infants and children from the ages 0-2 shows a more rapid pattern of weight gain which means it’s a crucial period and it’s important what or how much the infant is eating during that time” (Young, 2001). Another approach to influence children to make healthier choices in what they eat is to start at school. Children are at school more than they are home so in their schools so there should be better quality of food being served in the cafeteria and healthier options in vending machines.

Other primary prevention approaches is encouraging more physical activity like going to the gym or even for a walk. Physical inactivity as a child could result in physical inactivity as an adult. Families especially parents should merge more physical activity into their lives because they have such a big influence on their children’s lives it will be more likely their child would want to include more physical activity. A community tactic of primary prevention would be having Physical Education (PE) as a requirement in the school health policy in elementary school by including playgrounds and recreational facilities also more opportunities for physical activity during the day (Steinback, 2001).

Secondary prevention starts with screening then followed by treatment. The screening may occur in the primary care practice settings or in any other healthcare center. Screenings consist of the calculation of the BMI based on age and sex specific standards which helps diagnose a child overweight or obese (Koplan, 2005). Another tactic of secondary prevention can be BMI screening and surveillance in both primary healthcare centers and schools to track the height and weight status of the children. Another approach is also to prevent overweight children from becoming obese. Children that are screened for obesity are recommended to get intensive counselling and behavioral interventions to improve their weight statuses.

Tertiary prevention is the treatment of obesity including the medical problem associated with being obese such as coronary heart disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes. The treatments are focused on reducing the negative impact of those medical conditions by restoring function and reducing complications. In tertiary prevention, there are different levels of treatment starting with screenings, getting families to take action before obesity moves to a stage that may require intensive treatment. There are preventative strategies from strong medication to increasing fruit and vegetables in their diet and reducing their calorie intake and also encouraging physical activity to help with weight loss.


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