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Relationship Between Sedentary Lifestyle and Obesity

Info: 2870 words (11 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 11th Feb 2020

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Tagged: healthy eatingobesityallergies

Topic: Is the rise in Childhood Obesity a result of a sedentary lifestyle or due to pre-disposing factors?

Executive Summary

This review examines the relationship that predisposing factors and sedentary lifestyles have on childhood obesity. The authors of the article “Childhood Obesity: Trends and Potential Causes, state that there is not just one factor that is responsible for the high rates of childhood obesity. The authors conclude that, “Many complementary changes have simultaneously increased children’s energy intake and decreased their energy expenditure” (Anderson, 2006).

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Numerous programs and research has been done in efforts to reduce the incidence rates of children with obesity. In order to better control this epidemic we must raise awareness around issues related to childhood obesity. Predisposing factors and sedentary lifestyles play an important role in the rising incidence rates of childhood obesity. However, one cannot attribute this rise solely to either one of these contributing factors.

Problem Statement

America has always been known for the sedentary lifestyles of its overweight citizens. Despite hundreds of advertised diets and work out programs, America is still leading the nation in the number of people who are obese (Obesity Statistics, 2010). Why would one want to eat healthy when it’s less expensive to eat unhealthy, and so easy to skip workouts? Technological advances have caused Americans to embrace a lifestyle that nurtures obesity. Children no longer play outside, they now spend hours watching TV and playing video games.


“Daily participation in school physical education among adolescents dropped 14 percentage points over the last 13 years – from 42% in 1991 to 28% in 2003.26 In addition, less than one-third (28%) of high school students meet currently recommended levels of physical activity” (Contributing Factors , 2009). About a quarter of children in the U.S. are overweight and approximately 1/10 are obese (Akhtar-Danesh, Dehghan, & Merchant, 2005). Research done regarding twins reveals that genetic factors can contribute to obesity (Bouchard & Loos, 2003).

Obesity in adults can lead to major medical issues that can increase morbidity.. Childhood obesity has a strong linkage to adult obesity. (Speiser et. al, 2005)


The theoretical approach for this paper was based on the Health Belief Model. The Health Belief Model states that people have to be inspired in order to alter their behaviors (National Cancer Institute , 2005). In order to decrease the number of obese children in America, children must be motivated to change their behaviors. These include behaviors that put them at risk for obesity. They must feel inspired to lose weight by altering their lifestyle and incorporating more physical activity into their daily agenda.

So that we can decrease the number of obese children in America, we must recognize the impact of the disease on our children and the future of America. Only then, will we be motivated to change and able to encourage our children to change.

Literature Review

The Obesity Epidemic and United States Students

This article gives important and astronomical facts about the obesity epidemic in the United States. Among high school students, in 2009, after a Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was able to reveal several unhealthy dietary behaviors and a lack of physical activity. It was rather disturbing. The survey revealed that high school students, during the seven days before the survey, indulged in carbonated beverages and ate less fruits and vegetables. During the seven days before the survey, there was also a limited amount of 100% fruit juices drank and/or fruit eaten. Prior to the seven days before the survey, some of the high school students didn’t participate in, at least, sixty minutes of physical activity on any given day. Physical education classes were not attended either. The focus, it appeared, was more on watching television and utilizing computers.

The CDC offered, what would be assumed by most adults, reasonable solutions. It was suggested that the students be placed in healthier educational environments, receive better health education, and more physical activity programs. Along with what the CDC revealed about the survey, The School Health Policies and Programs Study in 2006 indicated that more students were able to purchase sodas or fruit drinks and less 100% fruit juices. However, nutrition services did offer more vegetables and gave the high school students the option to choose between different fruits. The choice was offered, in some schools, for students to participate in intramural activities or physical activity clubs. (The Obesity Epidemic and United States Students, 2010)

Obesity Prevalence among Low-Income, Preschool-Aged Children — United States, 1998–2008

This article reports the results of a study done regarding the presence of obesity and racial/ethnic disparities in pre-school aged children. The study looked closely at the racial/ethnic differences and early-life risk factors for childhood obesity.

During this study, “a total of 1343 white, 355 black, and 128 Hispanic mother-child pairs were studied” (Obesity Prevalence Among Low-Income, Preschool-Aged Children — United States, 1998–2008, 2009). The major findings were risk factors that started prenatally up to 4 years of age.

The results of the study revealed that black and Hispanic children displayed a number of risk factors related to childhood obesity. Some of those risk factors included increased rates of depression and rapid weight gain. It was also presumed that black and Hispanic mothers introduced solid foods to their infants prior to the appropriate months of age. As the children reached two years old, they were introduced to more sugar-sweetened beverages. Fast food appeared to be the first choice of foods.

In conclusion, the study did in fact; show significant differences in risk factors for obesity in black and Hispanic children. It was discovered the risk factors for obesity are present prenatally as well as throughout childhood.

Facts for Families

Obesity in Children and Teens

This article was very informative. It opens up with a shocking fact and number; “unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year” (Obesity in Children and Teens, 2008) I discovered that obesity is more than just a pound or more of extra weight. Based on this article, obesity in children normally begins in early childhood ages. If the child continues to display no change in obesity before or during pre-teen years, then he or she is more than likely to become an obese adult.

The article gives several possible causes of obesity relating to instances such as; “lack of exercise, family and peer problems, low self esteem, depression or other emotional problems, and overeating or binging” (Obesity in Children and Teens, 2008). When dealing with obesity, if the parent(s) and children are not careful, there are a number of consequences including: trouble sleeping, mental, physical, and emotional.

The author explains how obesity can be managed and treated in children and adolescents. However, the author also expresses how it’s easy for the child and/or adolescent to gain the weight back. It is important that old habits of eating and exercising not resurface. The author states, “An obese adolescent must therefore learn to eat and enjoy healthy food in moderate amount and to exercise regularly to maintain the desired weight” (Obesity in Children and Teens, 2008).

Weighing the Risk Factors

The writer displayed a picture of a handsome toddler with obvious weight issues. The child appeared to be happy but after reading the article, I discovered that this child is at very high risk of remaining obese through his adolescence years and into adulthood. It is suggested that “efforts to prevent childhood obesity should begin far earlier than currently thought-perhaps even before birth” (Burton, 2010). Obesity is affecting more minority children than white children. Beginning at infancy and even pregnancy, studies were revealed and proved that minority children are at a higher risk for obesity.

The author points out that socioeconomic status may be a possible risk factor. There have been theories provided that state limited access to health care, poverty, and low educational levels are contributing factors for obesity in minority children.

The writers suggest, “The risk factors stem from behaviors and habits passed from generation to generation or that may be culturally embedded” (Burton, 2010)

The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity

This article summarizes findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics findings on the role of the media in childhood obesity.

Data reported from CDC dating back to 1980 indicates that the number of obese children ages “6-11” has increased by twice as much. This data also indicates that the number of adolescent youth has increased by 3 times as much (The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity, 2004)

The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “The increase on childhood obesity represents an unprecedented burden on children’s health.” (The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity, 2004)

This article also explains the importance of relevant policy recommendations for change. The following policy recommendations were listed: reduction in commercials for food that are aimed at children, increase education campaigns and encourage healthy eating and more exercise, incorporate more communications regarding healthy eating to television episodes, and encourage interventions that decrease the amount of time children access media,

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The article states many contributing factors to the increased numbers of overweight children. The article lists these factors as, “reduction in physical education classes and after school athletic programs, an increase in the availability of sodas and snacks in public schools, the growth in the number of fast-food outlets across the country, the trend toward “super sizing” food portions, and the increasing number of highly processed high-calorie and high-fat grocery products.” (The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity, 2004). The article lists food advertisements as the number one factor that media contributes to childhood obesity. The article states that the number of TV commercials has increased by 2 times as much in the last 40 years.

New Data Analysis Shows Possible Link between Childhood Obesity and Allergies

This article expresses a new indicator that may reduce childhood obesity. A study published in an issue of the Journal of Allergy Clinical Immunology states , that “obese children and adolescents are at increased risk of having some kind of allergy, especially to a food” (New Data Analysis Shows Possible Link between Childhood Obesity and Allergies , 2009) It is said to be some sort of connection between asthma and allergies in obese children and adolescents.

This study was supported and led by the NEIS and NHANES. The researchers analyzed data from more than four- thousand children. They looked at and compared allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) or antibody levels to a large panel of indoor, outdoor and food allergens, body weight, and responses to a questionnaire about diagnoses of hay fever, eczema, and allergies. Obesity was defined as being in the 95th percentile of the body mass index for child’s age. The researchers found the IgE levels were higher among children who were obese or overweight. “Obese children were about 26 percent more likely to have allergies than children of normal weight” (New Data Analysis Shows Possible Link between Childhood Obesity and Allergies , 2009).

There are more studies expected to take place on this and there will continue to be a need to try and determine how environmental factors affect the epidemic of child and adolescent obesity.

Obesity Prevalence Among Low-Income, Preschool-Aged Children– United States, 1998-2008

This article gives details of the affects of low-income and minority obese children. There is data presented by the CDC’s Pediatric Nutrition Survelliance System (PedNSS). The CDC examined trends and discovered that “obesity prevalence among low-income, preschool-aged children increased steadily from 12.4% in 1998 to 14.5% in 2003, but subsequently remained essentially the same, with a 14.6% prevalence in 2008” (Obesity Prevalence Among Low-Income, Preschool-Aged Children — United States, 1998–2008, 2009). It is suggested that there should be strategic planning of an effective intervention that will focus on environments and policies that promote physical activity and a healthy diet for families, child care centers, and communities. There were several additional studies mentioned and all concluding the same necessary strategic planning to fight the epidemic of childhood obesity.

Overweight in Early Childhood Increases Chances for Obesity at Age 12

The article is conveying the same message about childhood obesity that many researchers focusing on this epidemic continue to convey. Children who are overweight as toddlers, infants, or preschoolers are more likely to be obese or overweight as an adolescence. However in this article, gives brief descriptions of recent analysis that focus more on frequent intervals of data collected on children from the age of two through the age of twelve years of age. This analysis was also done over an extended period of time.

The analysis revealed that overweight children in early childhood increases chances for obesity at age 12. (Overweight in Early Childhood Increases Chances for Obesity at Age 12, 2006)


Topic: Is the rise in Childhood Obesity a result of a sedentary lifestyle or due to pre-disposing factors?

Research shows that rising number of obese children cannot be attributed solely to sedentary lifestyle or to predisposing factors. The research sites a number of factors that attribute to the childhood obesity epidemic. Careful examination of the lifestyle factors and predisposing factor for obesity of today’s youth is essential in finding a way to decrease these rates.

Policy Recommendations

The following recommendations may be helpful in addressing childhood obesity in the United States:

Policies addressing childhood obesity must take into consideration the many different factors that contribute to this epidemic. Policy makers must be aware of the predisposing factors that may contribute to the disease. It is imperative that parents who show risk factors of having obese children receive an intervention while the child is still young. Programs designed to deal with childhood obesity must look at the lifestyle of the child and the parent, genetic factors, and economic status. Healthy foods are often more expensive that unhealthy foods. We must find ways to make healthy foods available and affordable for our children. Careful consideration must be taken in dealing with children who may be obese due to genetic factors.

Policy makers must be aware of the affects of the media on obesity. There has to be some control placed on advertisement for unhealthy snacks and meals that are geared towards young children. The media should be encouraged to have more positive roles for characters that do not fit in the “ideal weight” category. The media can also use celebrities and musicians to positively promote healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle.

The most important recommendation is that policy makers are aware that proper planning and implementation of programs nation -wide will be needed to decrease the number s of children with obesity. This will take time. This will also take a joint effort from parents, churches, state and federal governments, and community advocates. We must make this a priority in order to insure the health of our nation in the future. Working citizens should be aware of the possible financial burden that this disease could end up being if we do not address it in the near future. Health care costs are rising on a daily basis. We must ensure that we are financially able to handle this epidemic in the future. If prevention programs are not put in place, today’s obese youth will be tomorrow’s obese adults. These obese adults of the future may possibly give birth to obese children. We must stop this endless cycle and control this epidemic for our children.


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