Running Head: CHILD OBESITY
Social Work in Health Care Settings I
Dr. JaNeen Cross, DSW, MBA, MSW
September 25, 2017
Obesity is a chronic health condition that is increasing at high rates in the United States, especially among low-income children. Many children in our society are overweight, setting themselves up for serious health issues further down the road. Type 2 diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, breathing problems such as sleep apnea, hypertension, and heart problems are risks that children are developing. Children who are overweight additionally tend to feel less secure, less happy and be stressed more than normal-weight children do. Children get teased, criticized, and judged at school. They are more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem. Additionally, children miss school due to illness or weight-based bullying which makes it hard to keep up academically.
Communities and environmental factors such as safe play areas and grocery stores with affordable fruits and vegetables contribute to childhood obesity. Many low-income neighborhoods lack healthy food options so instead of going to the grocery store, resident’s shops at convenience stores in their area. It is known that ethnic minority and low-income families are more likely to live in neighborhoods with limited options for physical activity and healthy food. For example, physical activity in low-income neighborhoods is often limited by a lack of parks. (Lovasi, Hutson, Guerra & Neckerman, 2009)
In my previous paper I have done in the past, I stated that children who live in low-income urban neighborhoods have even fewer opportunities to safely exercise partly due to the fewer parks, green spaces, bike paths, and recreational facilities that are found in high-income communities, making it difficult to lead a physically active lifestyle. (Daniels, 2017) This lack of physical activity is demonstrated by the fact that fewer than 20% of ethnic minority youth participate in intramural sports. (Delva, Johnston, & O’Malley, 2007) In addition, crime, traffic, and unsafe playground equipment are common barriers to physical activity in Childhood Obesity 7 low-income communities (FRAC, 2011). Due to these safety concerns, children and adults, are more likely to stay indoors and participate in activities, such as watching television or playing video games.
Children living with families such as single-parent homes can be at risk for obesity. Longitudinal studies show that children living with a single mother are more likely to be obese than those in two-parent households, a result thought to be due to economic, social, and time constraints that make a healthy lifestyle more challenging to achieve (Schmeer 2012). Poverty caused some parents from being able to provide their children with exercise and a proper healthy diet due to a lack of time or money. The role of absent fathers can increase the probability...