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Weight Control and Management Among Children

Updated on October 25, 2014

A Foucus on Weight Management Strategies at Darwen and Blackburn, England

Studies reveal that obesity and overweight is the chief nutritional issue in the world. In fact, 1 out of 3 children are found to be overweight. Further, reports indicate that the major cause is low physical activities, and poor healthy choices. Strychar (2006) conducted a Meta analysis to find out the kind of diet that was effective in controlling weight loss among children. This analysis-involved use of diets that were divided into four categories, very low calories, low calories, low carbohydrate and low fat. From the assessment, the researcher established that there was no difference in use of these diets in reducing weight loss among children. In early childhood, these strategies of using low fat, low carbohydrates, low calories and low calorie food nutrients were quiet effective in managing overweight. However, the study found out that those diets that included simple sugars such as soft drinks had a tendency of increasing body weight. In addition, the author noted that very low calories had adverse effects to young children including a decrease of muscle mass, and electrolyte imbalances.

A study by Dao et al (2004) sought to investigate a multidisciplinary weight loss plan among children with obesity problems through use of aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Participants included 55 children (22 boys and 33) who were overweight. They underwent interdisciplinary weight loss program that lasted 6-12 months. Variables included performing physical activities with control group of low physical activities. The researcher selected the participants based on their weight status and the consent of their parents in participating in the program. There were also medical examinations and tests alongside clinical surveillance by a pediatrician.

Results from this study were that both boys and girls experienced a reduction in body mass from these interventions. Further, total lean mass did not vary in both sexes. Subjects lost approximately 3-5kg per month before a stabilization phase that was undertaken over a one-month period. The reduction in body mass among boys was 19.075.4 kg while that for girls was 18.9 kg. The total lean mass was relatively higher among boys in comparison to girls and was more significant after losing weight.

This study confirmed that a multidisciplinary weight loss plan was capable of improving both aerobic and anaerobic parameters. This is important in decreasing the level of obesity, as well as preserving LM for adolescent with severe obesity.

On their part, Wills and Lawton (2014) explored the perception of parents in regard to the weight of their children, as well as the strategies they deployed in managing this weight. The researchers interviewed respondents who consisted of parents of obese/overweight and normal children. Findings indicated that, the concern of parents in respect to their own weight provided a good basis to understand their perceptions and behavior towards their child/children. From this study, there were parents who were very much concerned on the weight of their children, though others were confused by puberty aspects. On the other hand, some parents relied on genetic explanations in explaining about their children’s body status. In addition, there were also those who expressed frustrations in regard to weight management on their children. In essence, the study noted that the perception of parents in regard to their own weight could act as a basis for patient centered service development. Among the key suggestions for intervention, and development was providing parents with the necessary support in creating a health environment for their children’s health. Further, the authors also noted that awareness programs should also be conducted among parents and caregivers in order to make them understand how to raise their children in a healthy manner.

Views of Weight Management

In essence, it has become critical to intervene at early child years in order to prevent overweight. This rationale is derived from study findings, which indicate the prevalence of many cases of obesity among young children. Further, studies also establishes a connection between childhood weight gain into the teenage and adulthood. Other research findings also highlight how lifestyle decisions such as physical activities and food preferences are formed during early years of childhood. Taking into consideration that young children have a more likelihood of being receptive at this age, it makes sense that action is taken early to manage this problem.

Systematic reviews indicate that overweight babies have higher risks of developing obesity later in life. Once obesity is traced in early childhood, there is high likelihood of carrying it to adulthood. According to the National Health Services (2013), many children are found to be obese in their early years of childhood education. This provides a confirmation that majority of overweight issues experienced at puberty and adulthood have their roots in early childhood.

Therefore, the argument to put an emphasis on early years of childhood is because obesity has a background on preschool years. Further, it is also more critical to understand that early life experiences determine individual lifestyles. Later activities, preferences, leisure activities are influenced by the home environment, as well as the type of parenting given to these children in their early life. If parents and caregivers employ proper strategies in ensuring that their children lead a healthy lifestyle from their early life, then many long-term benefits could accrue from this endeavor.

Reviews point out a low level of confidence among health professionals in dealing with obesity issues. Moreover, parents who harbor overweight children have reported that conventional approaches that have been used in management of overweight have not been much helpful. It is therefore, critical to design an effective approach that will be specifically tailored towards young people. In addition, it is important that health professionals have the necessary skills that can enable them to offer support to parents in regard to weight management to their children.

Conventional educational approaches have mostly included an attempt of imparting nutritional information. In particular, this has involved use of diets that consists of less fat, more vegetables and fruits. However, despite this approach being of much significance in regard to health education, it is not the only strategy that can be used for such an endeavor.

Stice et al (2006) explains that, apart from nutritional measures, other equally effective strategies that can be used in reducing overweight and obesity among children include physical activity, and weight loss programs. These strategies have proved to be effective as intervention measures for overweight children. In addition, majority of children are also eager to take on these measures, as they who want to engage in much physical activities. Furthermore, children who are willing to take on physical activities and weight loss programs may be already taking take other measures such as nutrition; hence, the success rate is high. However, the authors also note that obesity programs are not as efficient as other programs among young children. Additionally, these programs harbored mixed efficacy for children who are in their middle childhood. Nonetheless, the strategy appeared to be effective for the youth and those in adolescent stage. In essence, children in their early years find it hard to comprehend the skills and concepts that they are introduced to in obesity programs. Moreover, unlike their older counterparts, young children do not have much control in choosing the type of food they consume. This is because in most cases, parents are the one who selects children’s meals.

Child Weight Management Policies in Blackburn and Darwen

Statistics from Darwen and Blackburn council reveal that 1 out of 3 children are overweight. This rate is more for those who are underweight. In an endeavour to leverage the social and health problems that occurs among children such as overweight, Darwen and Blackburn Council has formulated actions plans, strategies, and initiatives for children who harbour acute or complex needs, especially those that require long term needs. There are different agencies that specifically deal with children issues. For instance, Think Family is one of the departments that is mandated to tackle acute and in most cases inter-generational issues that affect children and young people. Further, the mandate of this department is focused at formulating early help strategies that are locally delivered. In essence, Darwen and Blackburn council is concerned on the good start for children, as well as young people. This is why it has established programs, and initiatives to ensure the wellbeing of this group of people.

In addition, Darwen and Blackburn council has formulated policies to encourage health eating, physical activities as the general health behaviour. Other plans by the council include regular parenting programs which educates parents on how best to take care of their children, and management of healthy related issues such as obesity. Further, parents are offered necessary support in dealing with various issues affecting their children. These policies are also aimed at improving the quality and quantity of physical activities for children who are at early age and teenage years (NHS, 2014).

The government’s concern regarding overweight among young people and obesity in general is to reduce the rising rates as much as possible. Her approach in this endeavour is health children, health people, and a call to action to overweight and obesity that was initiated in 2011. This strategy set up a target to ensure that the prevalent high rate of obesity and overweight among children, as well as adults were drastically reduced by 2020. While the government acknowledges that each person is responsible in taking care of his or her own health, the state had a higher mandate of supporting them in making sound healthy choices. This is because in most cases, the dynamics of the 21st century and the busy lifestyle leads people into making unhealthy choice regarding their health (LGA, 2013).

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      Silas Nyamweya 2 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

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