Stopping The Increasing Rate Of Obesity In Children

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The growing rate of obesity in children calls for a compelling response to act. Detriments of childhood obesity in terms of social, psychological and physical health can be observed and its strong association with adult obesity and poor adult health. One of the new evidences (published in The Cochrane Library) showed that targeting 6-12 year old children with school-based programs, promoting healthy eating, physical activity and positive attitudes to body image, can aid in reducing levels of obesity. Although some speculate that this action may lead to harm, evidence of harm was not found in the study. Professor Elizabeth Waters of the University of Melbourne, the lead researcher, stated that doing nothing can likely result to escalating rates of overweight and obese population, especially in countries where prevalence are noted.

The international team of researchers looked into existing studies to determine which interventions have optimal effect in preventing childhood obesity. Since 2005, the number of trials increased from 22 to 55. They were able to thoroughly assess the different strategies with the great pool of information present.

Many of the programs aimed to improve the nutrition and physical activity of children, because inappropriate nutrition and low physical activity levels have been strongly associated with obesity. Although the studies varied in the context of evaluated programs for obesity prevention, if taken together, the review shows that their interventions had positive effect on body weight. Importantly, Walters believed that those that seek change in environments needs more focus than those seeking change in individuals’ behavior..

The evidence showcased a number of significant policies and approaches that are deemed to be implemented. First, the number of opportunities for physical activity and development of fundamental movement skills during school days should be increased. Second, the nutritional quality of food supplied in schools needs to be improved. Third, environment and cultural practices, promoting healthier food and physical activity, should be created. Fourth, there is a need to establish professional development and capacity building activities that give support to the faculty and staff, during implementation of health promotion strategies and activities. Fifth, more attention should be given to parent support and home activities that encourage activity of children, good nutrition and spending less time in screen-based activities.

Finally, Waters expressed the necessity for research directed to childhood obesity reduction to now focus on determining ways of incorporating effective approaches in health, education and care systems. By responding to this, long term impact on the levels of obesity can be made across populations.




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