Obesity has been on the rise especially in African-American population in the United States. The number has been reported to be 45 % in Africans and 30% among the whites. The childhood obesity has become a public health concern in African America population prompting so many campaigns and initiatives aimed at sensitizing citizens on its awareness. Furthermore, research has revealed that there is a potential risk of obesity during pregnancy. More indications show that the infants especially those below the age of 18 are more likely to face obesity cases. Moreover, several studies have shown some relationships between BW and childhood obesity.
The objective of this study is to determine the level of childhood obesity in African-American population. In doing this, this study focused on the relationship between large-for-gestation age infants and obesity in childhood. Moreover, this paper pays attention to incidences of overweight to establish the risk of suffering from obesity.
Childhood obesity refers to a condition of excess body fat adversely affecting the well-being of a child. Under this condition, the health of the child deteriorates leading to serious implications that are harmful to the survival of the child. Moreover, there are no substantive methods of determining the correct amount of body fat that should be present in a child’s body. However, the diagnosis of obesity has relied on BMI for a long duration of time. The ever increasing cases of obesity in children coupled with its adverse implications have led to recognition of obesity as a critical public health concern. In most instances, it is advisable to use the term overweight to reduce the stigma caused by the term obesity.
Childhood obesity in African-America population is a major concern not only to the government of the United States, but to the whole world. The most affected population is the infants and those below eighteen years. This group of people is most affected because they are at risk of carrying the disease to the next generation in adulthood. This is the main problem that has caused the global debate on the cause and prevention of further spread of obesity cases in infant within the African-American population. Despite the fact that obesity is a global concern, the cases reported in America are many thus creating the much needed prompt solution.
Data from relevant research organization indicate that the global obesity cases stand at 35 percent of world’s population. This figure is so high to the extent that it is almost impossible for the world to initiate a proper mechanism of dealing with this menace. United states top the global rank with 15 percent of total global cases. However, the data also indicates that two-thirds of United States citizens are under obesity. Mississippi ranks top of all state in the United States of America with 17.8 percent of the total obesity cases reported in America. Wes Virginia comes second on the list with 30.6 percent of the total population. Hawaii is at the bottom of the list with 1.3 percent of total cases of obesity in United States of America. Other organizations like the CDC, NIH and WHO have also conducted research about Childhood obesity in African-American population and confirmed that the rate of prevalence is high in America with 17.8 percent of all cases reported in the world.
The rates of obesity cases have increased tremendously in all races and gender among children below eight years in African America population. A survey conducted in 2000 revealed that the prevalence of severe obesity increase from the ratio of one to two hundred up to the ratio of one to fifty. This is the value obtained by BMI at less than 40kg/m2. The incidences of extreme childhood obesity also increased by a factor of five. Similar impacts have been witnessed in all gender and races within the African-American population, with the prevalence of childhood obesity in pediatric babies tripling within a short duration of time. To be specific, the number of childhood obesity of infants aged below eight years has been established to be more than nine million. However, a recent study by CDC has shown that US has recorded a decline in childhood obesity in the last few years. The rationale behind this argument is the saturation in media concerning health issues and the limitation put to obesity through biological methods. The prevalence rate of obesity in United States is above 30% in most states. However, a few states show the prevalence rate of below 20%.
Past, Present, Future Data
Data released by various institutions and research organizations show that obesity cases have been changing throughout the years to the present day. American is currently leading in obesity cases, but there is a likely hood that Mexico will overtake America given the measures America is taking to control the obesity case. In addition, the children exposed to obesity risk have also been reducing significantly from the past high figure. It is projected that with the campaign ad regulations being set up by the government of United States of America, then the number of obesity cases is likely to reduce significantly in the future periods. A review of the trend in number of obesity cases has revealed that there has been a significant increase in obesity cases over the past few years. It is also anticipated that the prevalence will double in the next few years in the African-American population.
Historical Context of the Problem
Cases of obesity were first reported by children’s hospital during a clinical examination of an overweight child. Further studies were conducted to ascertain the cause of the overweight and results showed that the increase in body size was due to fatty content in the body of the child. This incident paved way for the discovery of several obesity case among children I the African-American population.
Causes of Obesity among Children below 18 Years
The causes of obesity are numerous and act in conjunction in what is defined by pediatricians as obesogenic environment. However, the greatest risk a child faces in relation to obesity is the obesity of both parents’ influenced by the genetic background and the environment of the child. Additionally, the body type of the child and other psychological factors also affect the occurrence of obesity in children. I most cases, childhood obesity is caused by the interaction of the selection process that favor children with more parsimonious energy for metabolism and the accessibility to energy dense foods
The primary cause of childhood obesity is interplay between genetic makeup and factors of the environment. In most cases, the genes that control metabolism and appetite put children to the risk of obesity in the presence of sufficient calories. There are over 200 genes that affect a kid’s weight by determining the level of activity in the body, preference of food, metabolism and body type. As such, obesity is associated with genetic syndromes like the MOMO syndrome, leptin receptor, melanocortin receptor and Barnet-Biedl syndrome. Family practices have been changing in the present year posting a lot of influence in obesity cases. The decreasing breastfeeding practices, less active play in children due to technological games, school age children being driven to school, and reduced size of family causes of obesity. This is because the child is denied exposure to physical exercise that is needed for control of fat and body weight.
Social Practices and Policies
Different states and communities have adopted practices that adversely affect the physical health of the children. To begin with, the quality of meals offered in schools, access to fast food restaurants, government subsidy on sugar and corn oil and the low price of unhealthy foods has exposed children to the risk of obesity.
Another potential cause if obesity is the advertising practice that focus on unhealthy foods and food joints. Thus, exposing children to unhealthy demand that cannot be tolerated by the parents. Moreover, the children who belong to racial and ethnic minorities will be prone to sedentary lifestyles that are a recipe for less health behavior, thus facing the risk of obesity.
Factors Associated With Obesity among Children below 18 Years
There are several factors that contribute towards obesity epidemics in the African-American population. These factors range from cultural practices, social interactions, environmental factors, and the eating habits of children. A thorough analysis of these factors is discussed below
Eating Habits of Children
The diet of children in the African-American population depends on unhealthy fast foods like French fries, bacon, donuts, and hamburger. Their affordability and availability all over the country is a potential threat to the health of all children in African-American population. Moreover, study has shown that sweets, sodas, and other soft drinks are responsible for obesity cases in children. Sedentary lifestyle is another factor that contributes to obesity. Sitting for a long time, reading, playing video games and watching television are preventing children from engaging in physical activities. This has up scaled the cases of obesity in African-American population to the tune of 60%.
The social change in children has been translated into their eating habits. However, it has been established that an interaction with food is the best way of creating a social atmosphere for children. It has been the trend of the day that food is associated with every mean of socializing, be it parties, function, ceremonies, occasions or funeral. This has exposed children to too much fat content thus facing the risk of obesity.
Social factors like external motivation for children to eat will cause a lot of obesity among children, on the other hand, internal motivation like hunger will make a child eat only when necessary. The maternal employment will also affect the BMI of a child with those on daily active employment risking their children to obesity. Moreover, maternal depression will determine a child’s BMI, physical activity and health. Finally, psychological stress in a family will lead to obesity in children.
Environmental factors such as advertisement of unhealthy food products will expose children to the risk of getting obese. This is so because most children will want to be given the products that they see on television and thus increasing their risk to obesity. In addition, the amount of time spent on television watching, sitting and playing games contrary to physical engagement is a factor that highly contributes to obesity cases.
Cultural practices and norms have also been a factor to the rising cases of obesity. Most of the cultural practices observed by the society are unhealthy practices that deny a child time to get involved in physical fitness exercises; this has resulted into a lot of obesity cases among children below eighteen years.
Significance of the problem
Obesity has increasingly become significant in the African-American population with high number of cases being reported annually. However, the magnitude of the effect depends on the population structure, the social dynamics in the community, and the composition of the community, race, and the gender parity. Due to its influence on America’s economy and the level of life of its, citizens, obesity has been considered to have a great significance to the African-American population.
Population, Communities, Race, Class, Age, Gender
Obesity has become significant in the African-American population across the board regardless of social class, race, age, gender or SES. However, the most affected are the infants below eight years. Statistics show that obesity among the Caucasians was over 30BMI for adults was over 26.8% for men and 27.5 5 for women and 24.5 for children. The black Americans showed 36.9% for adult men, 31.6 for adult women and 41.2 for children. The American Indians showed an obesity rate of 39.6 while the Asians showed 11.6 % as per figures given by CDC.
Gender wise, it was also established that out of the 66 million-obesity case reported in African-American population, 30 million were men while 36 million were women. On the other hand, the figures for the overweight population showed 42 million out of 72 citizens were men with the rest being women. The age group of those exposed to obesity risk changed from adults to children. Out of the obesity cases reported in African-American population, 67 percent were children below the age of eight years. Thus, children are more likely to face obesity-related problems at adulthood.
Theoretical Approach Being Proposed
By the end of the year 2013, there has been a lot of a remarkable effort by the United States governments in fighting obesity among the African-American population. Voluntary methods will reduce childhood obesity by up to 45 kilograms. Moreover, a lot of pressure from parents, government and lobby groups for schools to change their diet and social interaction in schools will create a significant change in childhood obesity case.
The government may initiate legislations that curb unhealthy practices and lifestyle like fast food consumption and adverts. This will reduce the general exposure citizens are put and thus reduce the risk of obesity cases. Moreover, punitive legal actions like jail, fine and imprisonment should be initiated on any organization or individual exposing children to obesity cases.
Proper diet and abolition of sedentary lifestyles will help children embrace physical exercise to keep fit. Moreover, active playing and cycling or walking to and from school will help create a healthy environment for the proper physical and health development of a child. This will help reduce risk of childhood obesity.
Health care campaigns
Healthcare campaigns were conducted to educate citizens on the importance of embracing proper lifestyles to help curb the obesity menace. The first lady of the United States has launched a campaign dubbed ‘let’s move” that seeks to explain cases of obesity in America. Moreover, nutritional policy initiatives are geared towards eliminating obesity in America.
Efforts are being made to implement intervention measure that will help curb the increasing obesity incidences. These interventions are conducted by government agencies, stakeholder, research institution, community organization and at the society level. The society is also not left behind in spearheading the campaign for intervention in the ever-rising cases of obesity. The various interventions that help curb the incidence of childhood obesity are discussed below
Banning Adverts on Fast foods
The government of United States of America has banned the advertisement of fast food restaurants and food joints. This move will help prevent the expose children are given to the unhealthy food products, thus curbing the consumption of such foods. The result will be reduced childhood obesity cases among African-American Population.
Several research institutions and universities are conducting research on the prevalence of childhood obesity in African-American population. These researches provide the statistical data required by government agencies and other organization to implement the necessary measure of curbing the prevalence of childhood obesity.
Education and Sensitization
The government conducts education and sensitization programs to help create awareness among the citizens concerning the prevalence of obesity. For instance, the corporate social responsibility of the US first lady to kick obesity out of America has helped educate and sensitize citizens of various way curbing obesity cases among children below eighteen years. The government should sensitize the practice of breast feeding and abolition of sedentary lifestyle.
Provision of Drugs and Medication
The main intervention being done by the government to curb the increasing cases of obesity is provision of drugs and medication to the affected citizens. Although a cure for obesity has not been identified, the government is doing a lot to ensure steady supply of medical services and drugs that control the occurrence of new cases of obesity.
Government Subsidies on Healthy Products
In order to save the citizens from consumption of unhealthy food products, the governments are subsidizing the production of healthy food products. This move will help increase the amount of food supply thus reducing over reliance of fast food restaurants for unhealthy food products that expose them to obesity.
Several preventive measures have been taken by the United States government to help curb the ever-rising cases of obesity in America. To begin with, the government has initiated nutritional policy for industries and schools that will help them observe proper dietary strategies. This move is aimed at preventing consumption and sale of unhealthy foods and drinks. Other measures taken by the government include taking legal action against those who continue to expose the African-Americans to the risk of obesity. For instance, the soft drinks have been banned by the calorie count laws. Moreover, advertisement of fast foods and restaurants has been illegalized in the United States of America. The family and the society also contribute towards the prevention of obese case through practicing proper lifestyle.
Childhood in African-American is increasing in the United States. Evidence-based prevention that has enough evidence is a priority to the state and should target clear risk factors and within critical periods. This can be done through health promotion and other methods those results into total reduction of the prevalence in childhood obesity in African-American.
Best Practice Models
There are no drugs or proper medications that have been recommended for obesity. However, efforts are being made to increase the supply of Orlistart and sibutramine in managing the cases of obesity among children below eight years in African-American population. This drug works by altering the chemistry of the brain, thus reducing appetite. Orlistart works best for the children who are extremely obsessed since it prevents fat absorption in the intestine. Another drug, Metformin is rarely used.
Another best practice method being championed by the government is the implementation of social practice and policies among the African-American population. Some of these policies include advocating quality and healthy foods, illegalizing adverts on unhealthy foods, reducing the price of healthy foods and government subsidy on healthy food products.
Some communities have embraced the idea of cycling to School and compulsory participation in co-curriculum activities. I addition, the government has also initiated several corporate social responsibilities and campaigns aimed at sensitizing the African-American population of better ways of eradicating obesity incidences in America.
Social Work Practice
Social work practice has also been embraced with the society encouraging physical activities and exercise among their children. In addition, cycling has been encouraged to help children kip fit; paying and doing exercise has also been encouraged by several social outfits in African-American population to help realize obese free society.
Campaigns are being conducted by various agencies and government institution to encourage proper public health practices that are aimed at reducing cases of obesity. Moreover, efforts are being made by agencies and research institutions to sensitize citizens on proper methods of lifestyles that encourage public health standards to reduce incidences of obesity among infants in African-American population
Effects of obesity on the society and the African-American population are adverse. To begin with, obesity causes a lot of stigma and emotion in children, thus reducing their self-esteem among their peers. Other unhealthy conditions related to obesity include high blood pressure, diabetes, and problem with sleeping and heart related diseases. I addition, obesity causes early puberty and liver diseases. In some cases, the characteristics of obese children are carried to adulthood. In the social scene, the obese children face discrimination, tease and humiliation from their peers, creating a lot of stereotypes that leads to depression. Other implications of obesity are long term and appear in adulthood. Some of these diseases include risk of cancer, stroke and increase in obesity in adulthood.
Obesity also affects negatively to the productivity and economy of a country. Most people faced with obesity cases are the young productive generation who should be contributing to the income generating activities of a country, however, due to their state, they are inactive and less productive. Moreover, these groups of people spend a lot of their income in medication and routinely checkups. Moreover, the government also invests a lot of money in research and provision of necessary preventive measures to curb the obesity problem. All these efforts end up drawing back the economy of a country and the income of the victims.
Several researches have been conducted in relation to obesity cases in African-American population. A study of children aged 2 to eight in united states were subjected to a program of restricted diet free from sweets and carbonated drinks and vigorous exercise. The result achieved was an increase in the activity of the children by 73 percent, reduction of time spent in viewing television by 12 percent and an overall weight loss of 2.3 kilograms, compared to a control group that was set aside.
The American obesity society also conducted a survey on parent’s attitude towards obese children, and the result revealed that 32 percent of the parents were against the replacement or reduction of recess. Most of the parents were very much concerned with the weight of their children, and 336 felt that the school was responsible for the high rate of obesity case in children. Another 12 percent believed that obesity posed a health concern to their children.
A study by John Hopkins University shows that inadequate sleep caused by obesity has an adverse impact on the performance of a child; thus, exposing them to risks of being overweight. This study became the first one to relate sleep, BMI and the incidences of overweight in children aged between 2 and eight-year-old. The study indicated that an extra hour of sleep will reduce the risk of a child being overweight by 30 percent. Another study also shows that obese children are more likely to become obese in adulthood. The figures given were 80 percent of obese children facing a potential risk of being obese at an adult age. Moreover, it was established that obesity that begins at an early age below eight years is more likely to be the server at adulthood.
Obesity is prevalent among the infants aged below eight years in the African-American population. This number is increasing and needs prompt action to ensure that the matter is brought to control. The studies conducted have created a starting point from which the government can take immediate measures to implement the policies and management methods that will see the problem solved ones and for all.
Critical analysis of the situation of obesity cases reveals that the high number of deaths among the African-American population are curable should proper health practices be implemented. Moreover, the critical analysis showed how those faced with obesity cases have been forced into miserable lives of poverty and low income due to the enormous amount of money spent on medication and mitigation methods.
The next phase that the government of United States of America should take is to give the mitigation measure full support by leading the campaign against obesity. This will be achieved through funding research and treatment of obesity in infants, creating proper rules and regulation that protect the infants from exposure to unhealthy practices and regulating all other sectors of the economy that contribute towards spread of obesity cases among the children of African-American population.
In addition, the social work in the community should embrace the idea that obesity can be solved once and for all should proper measure be taken to fight the unhealthy lifestyles. In addition, the society should be in the forefront of giving children the best recipe for a healthy lifestyle by being good role models for setting the pace for their physical activities, thus eliminating sedentary lifestyles.
This research paper has apparently discussed the case of obesity cases among children below eight-year-old among African-American population. It has also revealed that obesity is a curable disease and should not be taken as a major concerned with any particular country. In addition, the paper has ascertained that overweight is a factor that causes obesity among children below eight years old.