Childhood Obesity in America – Child Development Example

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"Childhood Obesity in America" is a perfect example of a paper on child development. Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health concerns in the contemporary world. Due to a combination of factors, it has evolved into a common research topic in various contexts. Various scholars are trying to establish why children develop obesity and how such vulnerability can be managed to prevent the situation from exacerbating (Aspray & Royer, 2014). This research proposal will present and discuss various aspects of childhood obesity, with the objective of revealing the short and long-term impacts of this health phenomenon. Background and Significance of the Problem According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of obese minors aged six to eleven years in the United States increased from 7 percent in 1980 to around 18 percent in 2012 (Delgado, 2013).

In the same context, the percentage of obese adolescents aged twelve to nineteen years increased from 5 percent to almost 21 percent over the same period. In 2012, in the United States, more than a third of children and adolescents were either obese or overweight.

For purposes of clarity, overweight means having higher than normal body weight for a specific height from water, muscle, fat, bones, or a combination of these elements. Obesity, on the other hand, means having higher than average body fat (Aspray & Royer, 2014). The rates of childhood obesity in the US justify as many studies as can be conducted on the issue. Statement of the Problem and Purpose of the Study Being either overweight or obese is the product of caloric imbalance, meaning the number of calories burned is much lower than the amount consumed (Aspray & Royer, 2014).

However, both conditions are also influenced by different genetic, environmental, and behavioral predisposing factors. The CDC statistic that shows that a third of children in the US are either obese or overweight suggests that the problem lies not with children but society (Sothern, 2014). American society has become increasingly accommodative to unhealthy diets and poor eating habits. A large percentage of parents prefer to consume fast food or ready-made food rather than cook, and their children are subjected to the same treatment.

Childhood obesity is silently morphing into an epidemic; it is a problem that needs more attention than it receives (Donohue, Benuto & Tolle, 2014). This research proposal aims to contribute to the growing body of literature on childhood obesity by investigating its causes, predisposing factors, and health implications. Research Questions, Hypothesis, and Variables with Operational Definitions Research Questions What are the geneses of childhood obesity? Between which ages are children most at risk of becoming obese? What are the long-term effects of childhood obesity? How is childhood obesity linked to the socioeconomic dimension? Should childhood obesity be classified as a modern-day epidemic? Hypotheses Research Childhood obesity is the result of poor dietary habits rather than biological or environmental factors. Null Childhood obesity is caused by biological, environmental, and behavioral factors. Study Variables The independent variables are age, sex, diet, and socioeconomic status.

The dependent variables, on the other hand, are body fat and weight. Operationalizing the Variables Age Definition Age is the number of years one has lived. For example, a twelve-year-old boy has lived for twelve years while a fifty-year-old woman has lived for fifty years. Measurement Age will be determined by the birth dates.

The parents or guardians of children involved in the study will be required to provide documents showing the birth dates of children; these will be used to determine the ages. Sex Definition Sex is one’ s gender. In this context, it can be male or female. Measurement Observation of physical and aesthetic features (e. g., dressing, facial features, hairstyles, etc. ) will be used to determine the sex of the children who will participate in the research. Diet Definition Diet is the type of food consumed over a long period (Aspray & Royer, 2014). For example, the diet of a six-year-old boy can consist of specific amounts of starch, fat, sugar, vitamins, proteins, over a three-year period. Measurement Diet will be measured by the percentages of each food consumed on a routine basis over a specific period.

For example, a child’ s diet can consist of 40% starch, 40% proteins, 10% vitamins, 5% fat, and 5% sugar. Socioeconomic Status Definition Socioeconomic status is one’ s background in relation to socioeconomic factors like social class and purchasing ability (Donohue, Benuto & Tolle, 2014). Measurement The socioeconomic status will be measured by metrics like annual net income, purchasing power, area of residence, occupation, and access to facilities. Body Fat Definition This is the cumulative amount of fat in a child’ s body divided by the total body mass (Aspray & Royer, 2014). Measurement Body fat will be measured using the body mass index (BMI).

If the BMI is over 30, then a person is obese (Dawes, 2014). Weight Definition Weight is the body mass of an individual. Measurement In this paper, weight will be measured in pounds. If the BMI ranges between 25 and 29.9, then the participant is overweight.

References

Aspray, W., & Royer, G. (2014). Formal and informal approaches to food policy. New York: Springer Science and Business Media.

Dawes, L. (2014). Childhood obesity in America: Biography of an epidemic (Illustrated ed.). Boston: Harvard University Press.

Delgado, M. (2013). Social justice and the urban obesity crisis implications for social work. New York: Columbia University Press.

Donohue, W., Benuto, L., & Tolle, L. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of adolescent health psychology. New York: Springer Science and Business Media.

Sothern, M. (2014). Safe and effective exercise for overweight youth (Illustrated ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press.

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