This diagram shows that there are several causes of childhood obesity, the most critical of which are unhealthy lifestyles practiced by many children, a lack of involvement in treatment, ineffective policies, and prevention interventions. There is a need to design and introduce new policies that would guide nurses on their way to detect the signs of early obesity and address its premises. Currently, the majority processes are directed to treating obese and overweight children, while prevention should be given top priority. Another serious issue refers to the fact that children are resistant to changes and show low involvement rates, rejecting or failing to understand the value of healthy lifestyles. Their parents who may also be obese often serve as role models, which makes it even more challenging for children to lose their excess weight. Namely, fast food, sedentary lifestyle, minimal physical activity, and the inability to cope with stress are included in the unhealthy living factors group (Sahoo et al., 2015). Insufficient parks and equipment also add more burden on nursing that strives to combat the identified problem.
A lack of training among nurses may be noted as one more cause of childhood obesity. This leads to problems with recognizing obesity symptoms, difficulties with helping them through communication, and poor knowledge of strategies that should be applied towards pediatric patients. Nurses who do not receive continuous education reduce their professionalism and become less competent since they keep applying old intervention techniques. For example, one of the recent articles demonstrates the positive impact of the combined efforts of nursing and schooling. Tucker and Lanningham-Foster (2015) consider that school-based interventions led by nurses are rather effective as they allow improving physical activity as well as health habits. Such articles present valuable information, while nurses who are not given the opportunity to learn about the latest findings tend to approach their patients in a traditional manner. In fact, nurse training is largely connected to policy since the former act strictly in accordance with their organizations’ guidelines. Therefore, all of the aforementioned causes of childhood obesity seem to be linked to each other and should be considered in combination.
Since the problem of childhood obesity is complex and multifaceted, there can be no single solution but a set of properly integrated interventions. For school-age children, three key components of successful obesity intervention may be identified: adequate physical activity, sufficient sleep, and healthy nutrition. The clinical practice guideline (CPG) prepared by the Endocrine Society clarifies that children and adolescents should engage in at least 20-60 minutes of energetic activity 5 days per week (Styne et al., 2017). It is stressed that even short physical activity sessions may improve metabolic measurements and children’s willingness to participate in sports. In this connection, the Task Force places a high value on those interventions that have minimal adverse effects such as a decreased sedentary lifestyle. The recommendation associated with sleep duration prescribes 8 to 11 hours of sleep for school-age children to foster healthy sleep patterns (Styne et al., 2017). Ultimately, the dietary aspect of the mentioned CPG recommends limiting sugar-containing, high-fat, and high-sodium products as well as recognizing eating cues such as stress, boredom, and screen time.
Sahoo, K., Sahoo, B., Choudhury, A. K., Sofi, N. Y., Kumar, R., & Bhadoria, A. S. (2015). Childhood obesity: Causes and consequences. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 4(2), 187-192.
Styne, D. M., Arslanian, S. A., Connor, E. L., Farooqi, I. S., Murad, M. H., Silverstein, J. H., & Yanovski, J. A. (2017). Pediatric obesity — Assessment, treatment, and prevention: An Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 102(3), 709-757.
Tucker, S., & Lanningham-Foster, L. M. (2015). Nurse-led school-based child obesity prevention. The Journal of School Nursing, 31(6), 450-466.