Statement of Problem
Childhood and adolescent obesity is a problem of significant concern. Whether obese or at risk, excessive fat is based on the ratio of weight to height, age, and gender of the individual (Ul-Haq, Mackay, Fenwick, & Pell, 2013). Today’s youth are considered the most inactive generation in history thus, childhood and adolescent obesity is more prevalent than ever before. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) documents the obesity rate in children ages 6-11 in 2012 at 18% (an increase from seven percent in 1980), and adolescents at 21% (an increase from five percent in 1980). The obesity rate in children has more than doubled and quadrupled in adolescents over a 30-year period (CDC, n.d). The factors responsible for childhood and adolescent obesity are related to childhood lifestyle, family influence, and community factors (CMA Foundation, 2008). The Healthy People 2020 goal, NWS-10.4, is to “reduce the proportion of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years who are considered obese from 16.1% to 14.5%” (Healthy People 2020, 2013). Overweight children and adolescents are at increased risk for severe medical issues that can last a lifetime. Interventions to reduce the incidence and improve the health of young people involve solutions at the primary (low risk youth), secondary (at risk youth), and tertiary (obese) levels (Sweeting, 2008). Parents, caregivers, and medical professionals can work together in diagnosing if the child is becoming obese or if the child is having a growth spurt (Ul-Haq et al., 2013).
Review of the Literature
The obesity epidemic is a globally acknowledged serious population-level public health issue. Obesity is the number two cause of mortality behind smoking in the United States (Williams, 2011). Research is aiding our understanding about the likelihood of how an individual become overweight or obese. Obesity can be multifactorial in children (Karnik & Kanekar, 2012). Childhood obesity is attributable to the difference between a child’s calorie consumption and the calories used (for metabolism, development, growth, and physical activities). Usually the unused energy from a child’s calorie intake from food or beverages results in obesity. Factors responsible for childhood obesity are related to childhood lifestyle, family influence, and community factors (Pashankar, Corbin, Shah, & Caprio, 2009).
Certain childhood lifestyle factors can produce obesity. Occasionally children do not properly use all the energy consumed from excess food and beverages. Currently children may consume larger food portions, eat out more often, eat less family meals, foods high in sugar, more snacks, and eat more low-nutrition, high-calorie foods. Soft drinks, cordial, juice, chips, lollipops, and snack bars comprise these problem foods. Therefore, energy expenditure is lower than energy intake. So this may cause children to gain weight (Bellows & Moore, 2013).
A major role in obesity is the lack of...