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Obesity in African American Children, Term Paper Example

Pages: 8

Words: 2245

Term Paper

Outline

Introduction

  • Identification of the problem

Literature Review

Explanation of a Theory for application to intervention

Theoretical Framework guiding study

Methodology

  • Sample
  • Data collection procedures
  • Effective strategies

Conclusion

  • Expected outcomes

Abstract

Office of minority health revealed that in 2011 African American women had the highest obesity rate in the country. Also, African Americans were 1.5 times more likely to develop obesity than non-Hispanic whites (Office of Minority Health, 2013). The Children’s Defense Fund argues that one in every three children living in America today is classified obese. Precisely, African American/ black children are more predisposed to obesity than whites with Hispanics following closely (Children‘s Defense Fund, 2013). As such, this research presentation addresses an investigation into obesity among African American children with the goal of understanding the phenomenon within a local context.

Introduction

Identification of the problem

World Health Organization (WHO) along with the National Institutes of health (NIH) confirmed that overweight exists when there is a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 25.0 and 29.9 kg/m2.  Obesity occurs when the Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeds 30.0 kg/m2 (World Health Organization, 2008). United States of America developed distinct overweight criteria for children emerging out of the 2000 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) BMI-for-age growth charts. According to this organization overweight is perceived as at or above the age-specific 95% BMI percentile. At risk for overweight is conceived as having a BMI between 85th–95th percentiles of the BMI-for-age growth charts (US Centers for Disease control and Prevention, 2008).

When overweight/ obesity trends among African American children in the United States of America were researched it was revealed after evaluating national estimates NHANES  that between 2003–2006, 31.9% of children ages 2–19  had a  body mass index BMI at or above the 85th percentile of  2000 CDC BMI-for-age growth charts. Over 16.3% were at or above the 95th percentile of BMI for that age.  During 2003–2004 and 2005–2006, respectively no significant changes were observed. However, comparing estimates from 1980-2006 there were overweight and obesity increases at the rate of 5.5% to 16.3% respectively. As such, conclusions are that while there seemed to be some degree of stability during 2003– 2006 the truth is that based on nineteenth century estimates overweight and obesity among African American children is on the rise (Nguyen & El-Serag, 2010

Current figures reveal that 35.9 percent of African-Americanchildren ages 2 -19 are either overweight or obese. This is in comparison to 31.7 % of children within their age range. Besides, 11.4% of African American children ages 2-5 are already obese. Within the past decade the incidence among African American children has risen from 10.5% to 18.1% for children between the ages of 2-19 years old. Concerns are rising as there seems to be a higher increase in prevalence during adolescence. Trends have shown increase prevalence among youth 12-19 years old from 13.4% to 24.4%. Red flags have flung up when recent statistics reveal that African American adolescent girls between the ages of 12-19 currently have the highest prevalence according to age, gender and ethnicity. Comparatively, less than 1 in 5 adolescent Hispanic and White girl is obese (US Centers for Disease control and Prevention, 2008).

The foregoing data on African American Childhood obesity has serious implications regarding the quality of health our next generation and the generations after will enjoy. Therefore, it is imperative that measures be taken to understand the root causes in address this epidemic among our children. Importantly,childhood obesity predisposes to development of asthma, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease and social stigmatization. Social stigmatization can be resolved through building a person’s self-esteem(Nguyen, D., & B. El-Serag, H. (2010).

However, asthma, type 2 diabetes and cardio vascular disease reduce life expectancy by approximately 15%. This means that human resources within the next generation and preceding ones will be diminished by this percentage of people becoming ill from these diseases very early in their lives. United States of America is one of the wealthiest nations on earth, but this cannot be maintained if there is diminishing human resources evidenced in escalating childhood and adolescent obesity rates (Office Of minority health, 2013).

Literature Review

Consequently, researchers are working assiduously towards disclosing possible cause and resolution tom this epidemic among African American children in the twenty-first century. As such Dr. Lorna Thorpe (2004) and a few other researchers conducted an investigation related to Childhood Obesity in New York City Elementary School Students. The researcher studied a sample of 70 elementary schools and a total of 3,069 during 2003.Overweight and obesity were estimated by applying the BMI-for-age at or above the 85th and 95th percentiles, respectively (Thorpe, List & Marx, 2004).

Results revealed ‘Hispanic children had significantly higher levels (31%; 95% CI = 29%, 34%) than Black (23%; 95% CI = 18%, 28%) or White children (16%; 95% CI = 12%, 20%). Asian children had the lowest level of obesity among all racial/ethnic groups (14.4%, 95% CI = 10.9, 18.7)’ (Thorpe et. al, 2004, p 1497). Conclusions drawn from this study were that obesity among elementary New York students is of public health significance. Extremely high levels among Hispanic and African American children signal national trends that are perhaps inadequately address or understood(Thorpe et.al, 2004).

Subsequently, further investigations were conducted by Sonia Caprio, Stephen R. Daniels and Adam Drewnowski (2008) regarding ‘Influence of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture on Childhood Obesity: Implications for Prevention and Treatment.’ These researchers focused on addressing existing evidence base and knowledge gaps related to childhood obesity in American society.  These gaps they believe affect shaping of America’s Health. As such, they initiated aconsensus development conference during 9–11 April 2008 through the Obesity Society of America to deliberate on the issue (Caprio, Daniels & Drewnowski, 2008).

A panel of seven experts in the disciplines pertaining to pediatric endocrinology, cardiology, gastroenterology, nutrition, epidemiology, and anthropology developed a consensus statement related to the influence of race, ethnicity, and culture on childhood obesity as attempts at exploring answers to specific questions were made. In response to the question, What are the prevalence, severity, and consequences of childhood obesity across race/ethnicity in the U.S. it was discovered by these experts that since 1980 children 6–11 years of age and adolescents 12–17 years of age applying the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) the prevalence has tripled. They also confirmed that African Americans had a higher prevalence rate than other ethnic groups (Caprio et.al 2008).

With regards to,what biological and cultural factors are associated with racial/ethnic differences in childhood obesity the panel disclosed that African American adults and children bodies contain much less visceral and hepatic fat than white and Hispanics. Further confirmation was that there are significant differences in resting metabolic rate among racial and ethnic groups Besides,African American people bodies contain higher circulating insulin levels than whites, due to a more robust β-cell response to glucose as well as decreased clearance of insulin in the liver(Caprio et.al 2008).

Ultimately, when the question of whether socioeconomic factors influence racial/ethnic differences in childhood obesity responses emerging from the panel which appeared obvious gave in-depth analyses the socioeconomic factors that influence racial/ethnicdifferences in childhood obesity. Specific issues, which surfaced were the role of money. While it clear that socio-economic factors undoubtly affects a person’s health. There was no profound evidencesupportive of how this influences development of childhood obesity in the American society(Caprio et.al 2008).

In confronting the money paradigm this panel hypothesized that ‘childhood obesity is the low cost of widely available energy-dense but nutrient-poor foods; fast foods, snacks, and soft drinks have all been linked to rising obesity prevalence among children and youth’ (Caprio et.al 2008, p 2212). These foods have been associated with energy dense diets which predispose to obesity. Where the child lives was identified as a predisposing socio-economic factor influencing obesity. These experts advanced that, perhaps, the social environment was a stronger variable than race/ethnicity in determining prevalence of obesity among African American children in the twenty-first century (Caprio et.al 2008).

Precisely, linking this philosophy more closely to poverty the experts explored ‘the time of poverty’ occurring during the child’s life. They contend that it embraces difficult choices low income households face in providing food for families. These families may have to choose between food and compulsory bills. It may mean no food or poor quality food. The truth is that in the American society the pressure of work; inadequate income due to unemployment places the child in a difficult food situation (Caprio et.al 2008).

Explanation of a Theory for application to intervention

Social Cognitive Theory

Social cognitive theory is applicable to many disciplines inclusive of education, psychology, and communication. The assumptions guiding this theory posit that many aspects of a person’s knowledge base are acquired through observing others during various phases of social interaction experiences, as well as external media influences. Precisely, it is the proposition that new behaviors are not inculcated from merelyadapting them through episodes of trial and error; instead human survival to a great extent depends on accurately replicating actions perceived to be useful to the individual (Pajares, Prestin, Chen,  & Nabi, 2009).

Importantly, media sourcesprovide a framework of acceptable and not so acceptable behavior, which ought to be modeled or replicated in a person’s daily life. Behaviors are so often adapted without thinking of consequences they would have on the individual’s life in the long term. It is only when these behaviors emerge into habits, which are detrimental to one’s health that measures are taken to evaluate their effectiveness to health life style outcomes. Essentially, the theoretical perspective advances that people learn from observation(Pajares et.al, 2009).

With reference to obesity in African American children it can be further advanced that the eating habits and social conditions predisposing to overweight and obesity among this high risk group has been learn from observation of significant others and the media. Children learn from their environment. From birth to when obesity becomes a public health concern children through their parents are influenced into practicing a nutrition life style predisposing to obesity. Obese parents more than often produce obese children both biologically and socially (Pajares et.al, 2009).

Theoretical Framework guiding study

Consequently, this researcher will adapt and eclectic approach in designing a theoretical framework to guide this investigation into Obesity in African American Children. Symbolic interactionism posits that human beings must be understood from the perspective of a social person as well a thinking entity. People do not perceive their environment directly neither immediately; instead they tend to define what ever situation in which they function first. While an environment may exit it may not be important to a person until it forms a definition. This is not a random action, but rather emergesfrom continuous interaction with the social environment (Herman-Kinney & Reynolds, 2003).

Also, people always respond to current events happening within their environment and this because the cause/ reason for actions taken. It is not the past that influences the cause of action, but present occurrences. As such, humans are considered to be actively involved in their social environment which produces actions and outcomes. Ultimately, in combining the assumptions contained in social cognitive theory and symbolic interactionism this researcher advances that some clarity regarding obesity among African American children would be drawn(Herman-Kinney & Reynolds, 2003).

Purpose

The current situation regarding obesity in African American children experts claim to have insufficient understanding regarding the dysfunction. Therefore, the purpose of this study thro is to expose some environmental factors applying theories that may produce an understanding of the phenomenon among children ages 0-7 years old targeting infants to school age children.

Methodology

The proposed methodology for this project would be a survey and document study.Surveys savetime and money. They can reach a wide cross section of respondents. One major disadvantage is that the researcher will have to make allowances for at least one third of them not being returned (Lynn, 2009). Documents will pertain towards health records of obsess children.

Sample

Samples would be drawn from a population of African parents withobese children. A sample of personal health data of these children listed in pediatric clinics will be reviewed.

Data collection procedures

Cooperation of pediatricians from the sampled pediatric clinics will be solicited in asking parents of obese children to fill out questionnaires. Children health records will be evaluated by a research team taking into account when the first signs of overweight/obesity were observed and measures adopted by pediatricians to address the irregularity.

Effective strategies

Effective strategies in understanding obesity among African American children embody researching what measures pediatric health care is using towards early detection and management of childhood obesity.

Conclusion

Expected outcomes

Since there is insufficient understanding regarding childhood obesity among African American children, expected outcomes embody first sensitizing pediatricians to African American children obesity being a public health emergency. More importantly, it is highlighting their responsibility as surveillance resources for reporting the magnitude of the problem to public health authorities for future interventions.

References

Caprio, S. Daniels, S., &Drewnowski, A. (2008).Influence of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture on Childhood Obesity: Implications for Prevention and Treatment, Diabetes Care, 31(11); 2211–2221.

Children’s Defense Fund (2013). Childhood Obesity. Retrieved on November13th, 2013 from http://www.childrensdefense.org/policy-priorities/childrens-health/child-nutrition/childhood-obesity.html

Herman-Kinney, J.,& Reynolds, T. (2003).Handbook of Symbolic Interactionism. New York: AltaMira.

Lynn, P. (2009) (Ed.) Methodology of Longitudinal Surveys.Wiley.

Nguyen, D., & B. El-Serag, H. (2010).The Epidemiology of Obesity.Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 39(1): 1–7.

Office Of minority health (2013).Obesity and African Americans. Retrieved on November 2013 from http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/content.aspx?ID=6456

Pajares, F. Prestin, A. Chen, J., & Nabi, L. (2009).Social Cognitive Theory and Media Effects. Los Angeles: SAGE

Thorpe, L. List, D., & Marx, T. (2004).Childhood Obesity in New York City Elementary School Students. Am J Public Health,  94(9); 1496–1500

US Centers for Disease control and Prevention (2008). Overweight and obesity  Retrieved on November 13th, 2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/maps/index.htm.

World Health Organization.(2008) Obesity. Retrieved on November 13th, 2013 from http://www.who.int/topics/obesity/en/

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