Evaluating the Research Process/ Childhood Obesity Essay
Evaluating the Research Process/ Childhood Obesity
Ji Li, PhD and Neal Hooker, PhD conducted a study on the links of childhood obesity and children who are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), clubs such as sports and others, and different living and household factors. This study utilized the conceptual framework of the literature review from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) during 2003 and 2004, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study utilized the common quantitative research method called a survey which is a form of questionnaire.
The survey was a telephone survey which was conducted on children 6-17 years old and surrounded questions about the physical and psychological lives. In the study there were 62,880 children studied and questioned. The study was conducted following ethical guidelines as it was not biased and took information from households, which were selected randomly, and had one child between the ages of 6-17. Also, the study was conducted by asking the families a series of questions that remained the same no matter the household or children’s age.
The rights of the subjected were protected by random selection process however I do question the use of a telephone survey because the identities of the individuals can be identified based on the telephone numbers. The study does not indicate whether the telephone numbers of the respondents were recorded so it is difficult to determine whether this is a factor. In my opinion ensuring the anonymity of the subjects is particularly important when dealing with the group focused on by this study because they are children.
That being said the study did not attempt to encourage, promote, or interfere in the lives of the subjects so I would say their rights were reasonably protected. The questions that were asked of the children were as follows: age, gender, highest level of child’s parents (high school), highest level of child’s parents (college), primary language in the home, current school child is enrolled (public or private), was child on a sports team in the past 12 months, in the past 12 months did the child participate in a club, average hour the child spent on the computer per chool day, average hour the child spent watching television on a school day, during the past month did either parent spend any time exercising enough to bring heart rate or breathing up, does anyone in the household smoke, is the household income more than 300% of the poverty limit, is the household income less than 300% of the poverty limit, during the past 12 months did anyone in the household receive free or reduced lunches or breakfast, and finally what is the body mass index (BMI) of the selected child in the household.
Each question was given a point value of 0 or 1 and the totals were calculated by each household (Li, J. , & Hooker, N. , 2010). In terms of statistical analysis the data is telling the interpreter what households have a child who is over the recommended BMI or under the recommended BMI and how their lifestyle or social practices come into play influencing the BMI. The data was analyzed by grouping the selected children into groups of children who attend public school versus private school, their household’s income range, if they qualify for the school lunch or breakfast programs, and their BMI.
The data was also analyzed in reference to all of the other questions asked such as parent’s education, and if anyone in the household smokes. All of these household and social situations can be used for analysis and to see if there is a trend that certain children in certain life situations may be more likely to suffer from childhood obesity. I think that the data is definitely statistically significant; however, I do think the numbers could be flawed in reference to the person being surveyed by telephone being truthful. The conclusions do match the results of the study that was conducted.
The conclusion was that children who attend public schools have a slightly higher BMI than those who do not, and children who qualify for free or reduced lunch or breakfast programs have an even higher BMI and are at a higher risk of being overweight (Li, J. , & Hooker, N. , 2010). The conclusions also answers the research questions that were defined in the problem including the socioeconomic issues play a role in childhood obesity? Do the public or private school systems play a role in childhood obesity? Do the school lunch and breakfast programs play a part in childhood obesity?
The survey results appeared to answer yes to all of these questions. I do think that the results off of the data, is accurate and appropriate. However, like I stated earlier in the paper, I do think that the numbers could be skewed due to inaccurate answers by the person being surveyed. The study found that “children attending public school had a mean BMI value of 0. 401 higher than those children who attended private school. Also, if the child surveyed attended public school and received free or reduced lunch or breakfast in the public school then their BMI value was 0. 25 higher than the child who attended private school.
The study concluded that children in public school who took part in the lunch and breakfast programs posed a 4. 5% higher risk of being overweight” (Li, J. , & Hooker, N. , 2010). When the numbers are reviewed it is easy to conclude that there is a link between obesity and the public school system as well as the free and reduced meal programs. This link was also not altered due to socioeconomic status of the household. The study also found that “children with active parents who play sports or other activities have a BMI mean value of 0. 99 less than children of parents who are not active. Also, children who took part in sports activities after school or on the weekends had a BMI mean value of 0. 751 lower than children who did not participate in an activity (Li, J. , & Hooker, N. , 2010)”.
There is a clear link between lower BMI values and active parents and active children. Education levels of the parents also appear to play a role in a child’s chances of being obese. The study concluded that “children with parents who finished high school have a BMI of 0. 17 less than those who have less than a high school education. Also, in the households where the parents completed a college education the BMI is reduced by 1. 279 in value. In households where Spanish is the primary language, the BMI was found to be 0. 680 higher than households where English was the primary language” ( Li, J. , & Hooker, N. , 2010). After review of the data in regards to the conclusion the analysis is found to be appropriate as school meal programs and household influence do in fact influence childhood obesity.
There is a lot of information about the study and the data that was collected and its effectiveness. I think that the data collected can be used to link childhood obesity and school meal programs. However, I also think that the data can be disputed by the way in which the data was collected, by telephone survey. The person conducting the survey cannot verify or prove that the person being surveyed is being truthful. Also, it is unknown how the people being surveyed were asked to take part, other than by random phone number selection.
If the person asked to do the survey is having issued with their school or the school meal programs their answered might be different if they knew the data could influence the thoughts on school and their meal programs. I think that this survey is very beneficial; however, I would think that a different survey method other than telephone methods would help to make the data more concrete and effective. In the end, the study does give valid data that can be evaluated to help decide the links to schools and childhood obesity.
I think that the data collected can mean great change in the meal programs and the need for such change. I do not believe though that the results obtained from the study are statistically significant as the differences in most of the categories were not extraordinary one way or the other. The possible flaws in the way the information was obtained would in my opinion devalue the validity of the study. Without having actual medical knowledge regarding the child’s BMI the information is based on the opinions of the respondents.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 12 February 2017
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