School of Nursing Midwifery & Indigenous Health

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 18 July 2016

School of Nursing Midwifery & Indigenous Health

Childhood obesity is a major health issue in Australia. World Health Organization (WHO), 2009 has defined obesity as abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat in the body that may impair health. Childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects the health and well-being of a child. The dietary intakes build up the unnecessary fat in child’s body that ultimately affects the overall health. Childhood obesity is a serious concern because it affects their body throughout their lifespan. Obesity has become a serious health concern due to its increasing prevalence.

In order to prevent children from being obese, it is necessary to monitor their calorie intake and encourage them for physical exercise. Early onset of obesity on child leads to long-term health complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and heart diseases. Obesity is determined on the base of body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a relationship between weight and height that is associated with body fat, nutritional status and health risk (BETTER HEALTH CHANNEL, 2010). The body mass index of a person determines whether they are obese or not. As Australia is one of

the most overweight developed countries on the globe (Espinel &King, 2009). Therefore, it is not surprising to have obese children in Australia. Prevalence in Australia Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2013), suggests that one in four Australian children are obsessed. The prevalence of obesity in children increases along with their age. In addition, the report of Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013) also shows the increment of obsessed children by three percentages in 2007-08. Approximately six hundred thousand Australian children were obese or overweight.

They also predicted that children are likely to stay obese during their adulthood. In context New South Wales (NSW) one in five children, aged seven-fifteen are either overweight or obese (NSW public school, 2008). NSW department of health (2009) predicted that, in NSW 35. 6% of boys and 31. 7% girls would be either obese or overweight by the 2016. The aim of the NSW government is to stop the growth in childhood obesity by implementing various methods. Currently the government is urging the children to perform physical activity as much as possible (NSW department of health, 2009).

To address the future of childhood obesity government has identified five priority action have been identified. The actions include community information, healthy food, active lifestyles, sports and recreation infrastructure and prevention and early intervention services. The prevalence of childhood obesity in NSW as well as in whole Australia is in increasing order. The current and future management plan of government intends to lower the number of obese children from various perspectives. Literature review

The purpose of this literature review is to recognise the relevant causes of childhood obesity and inform the health practitioners. Various factors are linked to obese children. Kemp and Pienaar (2011) have raised the concern about the physical inactiveness of the children and concluded that obese children are less active than their respective non-obese counterparts. The authors carried out a research on total energy expenditure and physical activity among the children (seven boys and seventeen girls) aged nine to twelve years of age.

Among them, nine were overweight and fifteen were obese. All the children were supposed to spend sixty minutes every day by doing physical exercises. Unlike the overweight children, none of the obese children met the requirements of sixty minutes physical activity daily. A comprehensive study conducted in 2011 by Byrne et al. showed that children in single-parent household watched more television, ate more food high in fat and sugar and less fruits and vegetables than children from dual parent household.

The overall aim of this study was to examine obesogenic factors in children from single and dual parent families in Australia. The study sample was comprised of eight thousand seven hundred and seventeen children aged four to nine years old. After gaining, the ethical consideration from appropriate institutional ethics committee authors obtained the consent from the respective parents. Children were categorised as obese and overweight depending upon their body mass index. The parents provided the approximate data of dietary intake and television viewing.

Girls and boys from single-parent families displayed higher body mass index compared to children from dual parent families. The findings recommended that an additive effect of dietary and activity variables might contribute to the higher rates of overweight and obesity in Australian children, and that girls from single-parent households may be particularly at risk. Co-incidentally, the results were same as in USA research, which used national child cohorts. Hence, single parent’s children are more likely to be gain-unwanted weight.

Centrella- Nigro (2009) thinks that socio economic status plays vital role in the determination of childhood obesity. During her research she found out the children who gets support from the government for their daily living are more obese. She also highlights that poorer people are less aware about the food intake so there is greater chance of being obese. Furthermore, cultural background is also prominent factor behind childhood obesity. People from various cultures do not consider about eating diet with high fibre. People consume the conventional diet.

By consuming the diet, high in sugar and fat people will put excess fat in their body. Crowle &Turner (2010), from the productivity commission Australia has informed the public about the childhood obesity in Australia. Throughout their research, they noted the causes of childhood obesity and the interference from the Australian government. Along with parenting styles and physical activity, authors found that gender age, parent weight status and child’s personal behaviour and characteristics are important aspects of childhood obesity.

Their research ended by concluding that there are several factors behind childhood obesity and all of us need to work together to bring down the number of Australian obese children. Maher et al. (2010) has blamed Australian mothers for the obesity in children. The authors discussed about the management of children and social functioning. Normally, a mother looks after the child and therefore she determines the diet of a child. Although mothers work is not directly acknowledged, but maternal responsibility for childhood, obesity dominates in social science and public health.

Regarding the causes, Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013) has raised issue of socio- economic factors, physical activity and sedentary lifestyles among children. On the other hand, NSW Public School (2008) is alarming the issue of dietary intake and has initiated school canteen strategy with the hope to provide quality food for the children. Discussion Numerous literary works from various experts were studied to find out the causes of childhood obesity. Every researcher has pointed out a variety of reasons behind the childhood obesity. Passive lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits are the most common causes of obesity.

Australian children are at greater risk obesity and the government has been addressing this issue from the past. In addition, a strategic plan is in action to manage the problems in the future. Governmental plan will not be successful to control the problem of obesity unless the public actively participate in the programme. Research Gap From the literature review conducted in childhood obesity, a research gap exists between the causes and preventive measures of childhood obesity. The literature about the obesity management plan was very limited.

Moreover, fails to provide the details information regarding the impact of obesity on health of children. Research Questions From research gap, I have identified two qualitative research questions, which are as follows: 1. What are the health impacts of childhood obesity? 2. What are actions to minimise the health risk of obese children? As a research method, I will use the qualitative approaches. The literature provides the overview of childhood obesity and the impact on the health. Therefore, it is very important to know the causes of childhood obesity.

The first research question will deal with the health impacts, whereas the second question will deal with the steps required to minimize the health risk. Research Design The research questions are qualitative as they are looking for the reasons of health impacts of childhood obesity and the preventive measures to minimize the health risk on obese children. Clark (2009) states that “Qualitative research uses non-numerical data to explore how humans behave, experience and understand. ” Likewise, the research questions as stated above will investigate for the relationship between and health using non- numerical data.

So while formulating the conclusion of the research, experiences of the obese children will direct towards the answer of the question. The research will be completely based on the causes of obesity, how it is affecting the health and the actions to minimize the health risk on children. References Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, Children Who Are Overweight or Obese, viewed 10 September 2013, from Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2013, Overweight and obesity, viewed 10 September 2013, from < http://www. aihw. gov.

au/overweight-and-obesity/> Better Health Channel, 2013, Body mass index (BMI) for adults, viewed 10 September 2013, from < http://www. betterhealth. vic. gov. au/bhcv2/bhcsite. nsf/pages/bmi > Byrne, L, Cook, K, Skouteris, H, & Do, M 2011, ‘Parental status and childhood obesity in Australia’, International Journal Of Pediatric Obesity, 6, 5-6, pp. 415-418. Centrella-Nigro, A 2009, ‘Hispanic children and overweight: causes and interventions’, Pediatric Nursing, 35, 6, pp. 352-356. Crowle, J, Erin, T, 2010, Childhood Obesity:An Economic Perspective , viewed 13 September 2013 at

Clark, A 2009, ‘Qualitative research: what it is and what it can contribute to cardiology in the young’, Cardiology In The Young, 19, 2, pp. 131-134. Espinel, Paola T. and King, L. (2009). A framework for monitoring overweight and obesity in NSW. Sydney: NSW Department of Health and the Physical Activity Nutrition Obesity Research Group. Kemp, C, & Pienaar, A 2011, ‘Physical activity levels and energy expenditure of 9-year-old — 12-year-old overweight and obese children’,Health SA Gesondheid, 16, 1, pp. 1-6. Maher, J, Fraser, S, & Lindsay, J 2010, ‘Between provisioning and consuming?


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 18 July 2016

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