According to the OECD (2017), more than one in six children is obese in the OECD area. The rate of the epidemic is increasing significantly and is leading to detrimental effects on the health of the children. In Denmark, the range of children of ages 15 who are obese is more than 10 percent. Additionally, the United States has thirty-one percent. The rate of overweight children from ages fifteen has increased significantly in the past years in the majority countries. The percentage of both boys and girls has increased in England since 2012, and in the United States, the prevalence of the epidemic has risen since 2011 (OECD, 2017). The OECD projects that the rate of obesity will increase up to 2030 and the most countries that will be affected by this epidemic will be the United States, Mexico, and England. Social inequalities play a significant role in enhancing the growth of obesity and overweight children. Factors such as low economic status, education, and socioeconomic background, and the environment contribute to the increase of the epidemic. According to Hernandez-Cordero, Cuevas-Nasu, Morales-Ruan, Mendez-Gomez Humaran, Avila-Arcos, & Rivera-Dommarco (2017), obesity in childhood results in various health consequences such as hyperlipidemia, abnormal glucose tolerance, gastroenterological, and endocrine and hepatic disorders. Obesity in childhood also results in psychological effects and stigmatization from the society, which might result in adverse impact on the health of the child. Hernandez-Cordero et al. (2017) further argue that obesity in childhood continues to persist in the adolescent and the adult stage. Therefore, it is categorized as one of the risk factors for various noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes in adulthood.
Child Obesity with Respect to each of the Three Frameworks (Life Course Theory, MCH Pyramid of Health Services, and Health Impact Pyramid).
According to Frieden (2010), the Health Impact Pyramid is an alternative conceptual framework for public health action. The pyramid is organized into five tiers. The first section at the base of the pyramid addresses socioeconomic factors, followed by changing the context to encourage healthy decisions, long-lasting protective interventions, clinical interventions, and counseling and education interventions. The first tier deals with socioeconomic changes in the society, for instance, poverty. Poverty results in families engaging in unhealthy diet and overeating that may result in obesity. Besides, low educational attainment among parents of these obese children can increase the epidemic significantly. The lack of proper knowledge means the population is not aware of the causes and the detrimental health effects of obesity. The lack of awareness by parents is passed down to the children since there is a likelihood that they will also not achieve the same level of education as their parents. The pyramid also focuses on changing the context to encourage healthy decisions. For instance, the easy access to fast foods and take-outs increases the chances of children to visit these places, and they end up eating unhealthy foods. The theory also focuses on clinical interventions. However, the lack of proper healthcare facilities makes it difficult for the obese children to have access to quality healthcare services.
Besides, the life course approach can be used to explain obesity in childhood. For instance, one of the principles of the method is time. The process is based on the assumption that health is not only shaped by what happens but also when in the life course. The approach explains that health in the early years affects health in the later years. Hernandez-Cordero et al. (2017) argue that there is a link between obesity in childhood and adulthood disorders. The authors posit that the persistence of obesity in childhood results in noncommunicable diseases during adolescence and adulthood. The life course approach focuses on the individual time scale and its effects on the health of a child. For instance, a child who becomes obese at the age of fifteen can experience various disorders during adulthood. The individual time scale can be used to explain the history of childhood obesity. The MCH pyramid of Health Services is organized into tiers that the health needs of children, women, and their families. The method focuses on the provision of direct health services to women and children. Obesity in childhood, in this case, can be caused by the lack of proper healthcare facilities where parents can take their children and receive professional advice from physicians. The method also enhances the outreach of healthcare services in areas where they are not available. For instance, these services may be helpful in the case of obese children and their parents who lack proper information regarding overweight and obesity.
Application of the Frameworks to Discuss Interventions to Mitigate Child Obesity
Sedentary lifestyle and an abundance of high-energy foods are the primary causes of obesity. Age is one of the factors that cause obesity in all age groups. The life course theory views the behavior of individuals through a series of time from conception to death. The transitions that exist in the life of an individual can cause adverse health effects and at the same time provides opportunities for interventions (Musingarimi, 2008). During infancy and childhood, there is a likelihood of children becoming obese due to, for instance, extensive intake of formula foods. Parents during this stage should develop healthy behaviors and have accurate perceptions of their childs weight status. Parents should ensure that they provide an adequate balanced diet to their children and encourage their children to participate in physical activities (Musingarimi, 2008). The community can utilize the life course approach in the physical environment to educate members on essential health behaviors. The society can be encouraged to create room for physical activities such as cycling and running. The life course approach can also influence the mainstream media to broadcast positive health behaviors that can mitigate child obesity.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018), the Title V is the only federal program remaining that focuses on helping and improving the health of all mothers and children. The Title V tries to engage in community building by providing various services such as coordination, transportation, and nutrition counseling. The conceptual framework of the program is organized and envisioned as a pyramid with four sections. The top tier section of the MCH Pyramid, which is direct health care services, can be used to provide essential health care services. The services will advise parents regarding balanced diet and the importance of physical exercise through the help of a physician. The second section from the top focuses on enabling services. In this case, the MCH pyramid can be sued to create outreach programs that can be conducted in the community to educate the public of the causes and effects of obesity among children. The approach also supports infrastructure building. The funds from infrastructure building can be directed to the community and used to build training facilities and playing fields as a means to encourage the society to engage their children in various physical activities. According to the New York State Department of Health (2016), the Health Impact Pyramid can be utilized to create community environments that support physical activity, healthy food, and beverage choices. The approach can prevent childhood obesity through early child-care and schools. Additionally, the method can expand the role of healthcare and health service providers such as insurers in obesity prevention. The Health Impact pyramid can be used o develop community partnerships to increase comprehensive worksite wellness programs.
The framework that is best suited to review and address the issue of childhood obesity is the Health Impact Pyramid. The approach primarily focuses on the social and economic structure of the society. The five tiers are society-oriented and therefore serve as the best intervention to deal with childhood obesity since it is an issue affecting the whole community. Moreover, each level of the pyramid has many applications in the society. The approach also provides long-term and short-term interventions making it efficient for introducing changes step by step. The Health Impact Pyramid also focuses on changing the health behaviors of individuals. Behavior has been identified as one of the significant factors that cause illnesses among people.
Frieden, T.R. (2010). A framework for public health action: the health impact pyramid. American Journal of Public Health, 100(4), 590-595.
Hernandez-Cordero, S., Cuevas-Nasu, L., Morales-Ruan, MC., Mendez-Gomez Humaran, I., Avila-Arcos, MA., & Rivera-Dommarco, JA. (2017). Overweight and obesity in Mexican children and adolescents during the last 25 years. Nutrition & Diabetes, 7(e247), 1-9. doi:10.1038/nutd.2016.52
Musongarimi, P. (2008). A life course approach to tackling obesity. Albert Embankment, London: International Longevity Centre UK.
New York State Department of Health. (2016, June). Prevention agenda 2013-2018: preventing chronic diseases action plan. Retrieved from https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/prevention_agenda/2013-2017/plan/chronic_diseases/focus_area_1.htm
OECD, (2017). Obesity update 2017. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Obesity-Update-2017.pdf
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Understanding Title V of the social security act. Understanding Title V of the social security act. Retrieved from http://www.amchp.org/AboutTitleV/Documents/UnderstandingTitleV.pdf
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