Childhood Obesity Psychological Factors – Child Development Example

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"Childhood Obesity – Psychological Factors" is a great example of a paper on child development. Obesity is a physical condition where a person has accumulated body fat resulting in weight greater than what is considered healthy. Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to calculate how much obese a person is using their height and weight (Reilly and Dorosty, 1999). Children may become obese because of genetic, behavioural, and environmental factors. Obesity in children can be caused by factors such as Prader-Willi syndrome. It is often found that children with a family history of weight issues tend to become obese.

Kids enjoy playing video games and other sorts of indoor games nowadays. This leads to very few physical activities. More dependency on fast food and packaged food leads to high-calorie intake. Children can also become obese because of psychosocial factors. This includes emotional eating. Children who are stressed suffer from sleeping disorders and are more prone to emotional eating, leading to obesity. Stressors may include parental separation, maltreatment and lack of proper supervision (Kamik and Kanekar, 2012; Tanosky-Kraff et al, 2007). Obese children may face social isolation, discrimination, teasing, low self-esteem, low quality of life and other behavioural problems.

A study was being conducted using the data of “ Eat active, eat right” where the height and weight of 2,373 children of age between 5 to 7 years were measured. The Medical Ethics Committee of Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam approved the study protocol. According to the study, obese children felt more insecure about being treated badly by their peers (Van Grieken et al, 2013). Psychosocial factors can be dealt with with certain strategies and interventions.

Families can influence the lifestyle of their children. So, the family must implement ways and measures so that they can change the child’ s behaviour of overeating or eating unhealthy foods. They can engage the child in physical activities such as climbing up using stairs instead of lifts, parking cars away from stores so that they can take a walk, etc. Schools can provide classroom-based health education and engage children in physical activities. Children can also be encouraged to actively participate in dancing and other games. Children take their meals at school, so the choice of food can also be regulated.

A community can organize social events and healthy food festivals to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Children tend to understand things when they are made to learn in a fun way. So instead of advising children on eating nutritious food and doing physical activities healthy nutrition and lifestyle can be promoted with the help of virtual educational games. The WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health recommends broad and comprehensive public health efforts at national and regional levels.

The WHO School Policy Framework on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity recommends schools and communities work together on strategies to promote physical education and health literacy campaigns. Hospitals should develop physical activity guidelines for patients and staffs and implement healthier nutrition. Sources of stress should be identified within and outside the patient’ s family and mental health professionals should be consulted accordingly. Motivational interviewing should be conducted and counselling sessions should be provided not only to family members but also to all primary caregivers. Evidence-based, multidisciplinary healthy living strategies should be developed for various stages of life (Nieman and LeBlanc, 2013).               Childhood obesity has become a public health crisis that must be taken care of seriously.

Reducing body weight will not only reflect a positive body image and confidence but will also reduce substantially the risk of fatal diseases like heart attack and asthma. Nurses need to work closely with the family of the child concerned and educate the parents of nurturing healthy habits along with the children. Dealing with the problem at the grassroots level would require addressing their psychological problems at times and nurses need to interact with the victims and get involved in community education regarding healthy habits and ways to handle children’ s emotions.      

References

Kamik, S. and A. Kanekar (2012), Childhood Obesity, International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 3(1), 1-7, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278864/

Nieman, P., CMA LeBlanc (2012), Canadian Paediatric Society & Healthy Active Living and Sports Medicine Committee. Psychosocial aspects of child and adolescent obesity. Paediatric Child Health, 17(3)205-206. Retrieved on October 9, 2013 from: http://www.cps.ca/documents/position/psychosocial-child-adolescent-obesity

Reilly, J.J. and Dorosty, A.R. (1999), Epidemic of Obesity in UK Children, The Lancet, 354, retrieved on October 10, 2013 from: http://www.tums.ac.ir/1391/01/27/1-s2.0-S0140673699045559-main.pdf-dorostim-2012-04-15-05-05.pdf

Tanosky-Kraff, M et al (2007), Validation of the Emotional Eating Scale Adapted for Use in Children and Adolescents (EES-C), International Journal of Eating Disorder, 40(3), 232-240

Van Grieken, A., Renders, C.M., Wijtzes, A.I., Hirasing, R.A. & Raat, H. (2013). Overweight, Obesity and Underweight Is Associated with Adverse Psychosocial and Physical Health Outcomes among 7- Year – Old children: The “Be Active, Eat Right” Study., 8(6), 1-7. Retrieved on October 9, 2013 from: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=9357847e-c5a1-4aca-8c5c-e42b5122a3c8%40sessionmgr111&vid=2&hid=120

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