InterventionsApplied in the United States to Tackle Childhood Obesity
InterventionsApplied in the United States to Tackle Childhood Obesity
Childhoodobesity has become a significant health concern in the United States.Studies show that the prevalence of childhood obesity has increasedby more than double within the last 30 years (Center for DiseaseControl, 2016, p. 1). The federal, the state, local governments, andnon-governmental organizations have formulated different strategiesto counter the exponential increase in the prevalence of childhoodobesity. The effectiveness of each of these interventions should beassessed on the basis of the amount of the available resources(Noore, 2013, p. 10), settings in which the intervention isimplemented (Saguil, 2012, p. 1), and the size as well as thecategory of the target population (Ickes, 2014, p. 8940). Inaddition, the interventions should address the underlying causes ofchildhood obesity, such as inactivity and poor eating habits(Dabrowska, 2014, p. 2). In this paper, the interventions being usedin the U.S. to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity will bediscussed.
TheCDC Nutrition and Physical Activity Program to Prevent Obesity andOther Chronic Diseases
Thisis the largest government funded program that was started with theobjective of reducing the prevalence of different chronic diseases.However, but the main focus of the program was obesity. From itstitle, the CDC program is based on two major types of interventions,which include physical activity and nutrition (Yee, 2006, p. 4). TheCDC requires states increase access to facilities for physicalactivities and proper nutrition by altering the physical, legal,economic, and social environment. The program was rolled out in theschool as well as the community settings where children could beaccessed easily.
Thenutrition and physical exercise program is quite effective, giventhat the CDC and other stakeholders implement it in settings wherethe target population (children) can be accessed and assisted. Inaddition, the effectiveness of the program can be confirmed by thefact that it imparts children with skills and knowledge that can helpthem avoid unhealthy behaviors, even in the absence of their parents.These skills and knowledge ensures that children can understand thesignificance of eating healthy foods and engaging in physicalactivities (Yee, 2006, p. 4). However, the program is quiteunder-funded, which implies that it is only a small percentage ofvulnerable children who can be assisted. The leverage funding for theprogram ranges between no funding to about $ 1 million per year (Yee,2006, p. 5). Consequently, only 20 states have managed to implementthe program.
Programsinitiated and funded by the non-governmental organizations
Justfor Kids Program
Thisis considered as one of the largest national program that wasdesigned to protect children from the risk of obesity by teachingthem about healthy eating habits. This program is delivered througheducation and engagement of children in physical activities, such assports (Just for Kids, 2016, p. 1). The program is run by a credibleorganization, School of Medicine, University of California. It is acomprehensive program that seeks to impart children with theknowledge about the significance of proper diet, effectivecommunication, and physical fitness.
Althoughthe Just for Kids program is comprehensive, it is delivered in ashort period of about 5-10 weeks (Just for Kids, 2016, p. 1). Thisimplies that the program can only reach a few children each year.Therefore, the impact of the program may not be felt, given the largenumber of children who are at the risk of contracting obesity.
ChildhoodObesity Prevention Project
Thisproject was started and funded by the War on Poverty Program agencywith the objective of carrying out campaign to educate children,youth, and their families on healthy eating habits and activelifestyles (War on Poverty Florida, 2016, p. 1). The project wasdesigned to promote the overall health of the targeted population byincrease health and nutrition education, engaging children as well asyouths in home garden activities, and involving young people inchildhood obesity awareness campaigns. The interventions implementedunder this project have been addressing the issue of the lack ofaccess to vegetables and fresh fruits. By involving more children inthe home garden activities, it will be possible to increase thesupply of fresh vegetables and fruits, which will in turn reduce theneed for children to consume fast foods.
TheChildhood Obesity Prevention Project is a useful, effective, andcomprehensive program that has the capacity to impart the righteating and physical activity skills to children. However, it has alimited geographical coverage, since it covers the state ofCalifornia only (WPF, 2016, p. 1). Therefore, the program can onlyreach a small proportion of vulnerable children.
Theprevalence of childhood obesity in the U.S. has been increasingexponentially. The interventions being used to tackle this challengeface the financial and geographical limitations. The maininterventions used in the U.S., include civic education on physicalexercise, appropriate eating habits, and engagement of children inhome gardens. The health promotion programs that target childhoodobesity require a lot of resources and a wide geographical coveragefor their impact to be felt by the vulnerable communities. Althoughall the programs considered in this paper were developed to pursuethe right objectives, they are likely to reach a small number ofvulnerable children, since they are under-funded and focus onparticular states or local communities. Therefore, all theinterventions aforementioned are ineffective when considered at thenational level. However, the local communities in which they wereinitiated may find them being effective.
Centerfor Disease Control, 2016. Childhood obesity facts. CDC.[Online]. Available at:<http://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm>[Accessed 16 May 2016].
Dabrowska,A., 2014. Childhoodoverweight and obesity: Data brief.Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.
Ickes,M., McMullen, J., Haider, T. and Sharma, M., 2014. Globalschool-based childhood obesity interventions: A review. InternationalJournal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11, p.8940-8961.
Justfor Kids, 2016. Thank you for your interest in preventing childobesity. BalbaoPublishing Corporation.[Online] Available at: <http://www.just-for-kids.org/>[Accessed 16 May 2016].
Noore,G. and Bailey, H., 2013. Parental perspective of a childhood obesityintervention in Mississippi: A phenomenological study. TheQualitative Report,96, p. 1-22.
Saguil,A. and Stephens, M., 2012. Interventions to prevent childhoodobesity. AmFAM Physician,86 (1), p. 30-32.
Waron Poverty Florida, 2016. Nutrition and health education. WPF.[Online] Available at: <http://waronpoverty.org/WhatWeDo/ChildhoodObesityPrevention/tabid/64/Default.aspx>[Accessed 16 May 2016].
Yee,S., Williams-Piehota, P., Sorensen, A., Roussel, A., & Hamre, R.,2006. The nutrition and physical activity program to prevent obesityand other chronic diseases: Monitoring progress in funded states.PublicHealth Research,3 (1), p. 1-6.