Childhood obesity and overweight are defined as the condition when the child has too much body fat, which has unwanted effects on his or her well-being and healthy development. The problem of unhealthy weight in underage populations is among the most critical public health concerns, and multiple nutrition and physical education programs are being developed to deal with it. This research proposal focuses on defining the potential of jogging for school-age children with abnormal weight.
The Spirit of Inquiry Ignited
Excess weight and obesity negatively affect children’s general health and increase the odds of developing specific diseases. The conditions associated with childhood weight problems are adult obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal levels of lipoproteins in the blood, shallow breathing during sleep, and other sleep disorders (Metgud, Hungund, & Kulkarni, 2018). Abnormal weight sometimes has detrimental effects on children’s mental health and self-esteem (Metgud et al., 2018). Along with the rules of healthy nutrition, lifestyle measures aimed at increasing children’s level of physical activity are implemented to encourage weight loss. However, the bodyweight effects of particular activities, for instance, jogging, are not widely discussed in the context of childhood obesity. This proposal is aimed at addressing this research gap and collecting new data to generalize on the effectiveness of jogging in obese/overweight children.
The PICOT Question Formulated
In school-age children (P), what are the effects of a community-based jogging program (I) on overweight and obesity rates (O) compared to a home-based nutrition and TV reduction program (C) over a 1-year period (T)?
Search Strategy Concluded
The literature search procedure was conducted using the Cochrane Database and different keywords, including “childhood obesity,” “healthy nutrition,” “physical activity,” and “school-based intervention.” Five articles, including case-control studies and randomized controlled trials, were selected. The source by Metgud et al. (2018) compares the effects of regular exercising and free-choice programs on obese children’s weight and health, whereas Guo et al. (2019) study the outcomes of regular jogging. The research by Andersen, Myers, O’Malley, Rose, and Johnson (2016) is devoted to nutritional interventions, such as the introduction of salad bars. Frisvold (2015) delves into the School Breakfast Program and health changes in low-income children. Finally, Lassiter and Campbell (2019) focus on the benefits of the walking program, including its ability to reduce obesity rates in elementary school children. Overall, the studies present cardiovascular exercises (jogging, walking, etc.) and nutritional interventions as beneficial to children’s health, and analyzing their effects comparatively is the next step to eliminating childhood obesity.
Critical Appraisal of the Evidence Performed
The selected studies meet the criteria to be qualified as the sources of level I and II evidence. Relatively small sample sizes and minor methodological flaws are the most common weaknesses. At the same time, in the majority of studies, participants and their schools did not receive monetary rewards, and it makes the results unbiased and more credible.
Evidence Integrated with Clinical Expertise and Patient Preferences to Implement the Best Practice
Based on the evidence on beneficial interventions, it is planned to design two weight loss options suitable for school-age children. The first intervention will include regular participation in a community-based jogging program. As for the comparison group, these children’s parents will receive patient education on healthy home-based nutrition and TV reduction and implement this knowledge into practice. The comparison of BMI scores in both groups before and after the experiment will shed light on the effectiveness of different lifestyle interventions in reducing weight problems.
The outcome of Practice Change Evaluated
The outcomes of the proposed study are to indicate whether regular community-based jogging is a more effective weight loss option to be implemented in school-age children compared to home-based interventions. First of all, evaluations will be conducted with reference to objective data, such as BMI changes and overall health.
The project will increase children’s and parents’ awareness of the principles of healthy living and make them more informed about the outcomes of childhood weight issues. Basically, the purpose is to initiate weight loss in all children without damaging their health.
Can community-based jogging programs and home-based nutrition/TV reduction interventions initiate weight loss in overweight and obese school students?
When it comes to weight loss, relying on long-term results is the preferable option since the pace of losing weight changes with the lapse of time. To produce meaningful conclusions, post-intervention tests will be conducted twelve months after the start of the experiment.
The implementation of both options will require the establishment of partnership relations between children/parents, training instructors, and nutritionists.
The selection of the research methods and interventions is linked to basic knowledge concerning the causes of obesity and abnormal weight gain. If hormonal disorders are not involved, obesity is caused by an energy imbalance between the consumed and burned calories (Metgud et al., 2018). The creation of the community-based jogging program is focused on increasing the number of calories that obese/overweight children burn, whereas the home-based program is to normalize children’s daily caloric intake.
It is planned to conduct a prospective experimental study using a pretest-posttest design. After inclusion in the sample, research participants will be randomly divided into comparison and intervention groups. Information on each participant’s BMI levels will be collected before the experiment and twelve months later.
During the experiment, trainers will have access to personal data of children in the jogging group to control attendance rates. Concerning the comparison group, nutritionists will provide a healthy lifestyle consultation to participants and their parents without knowing their names or other data. In research reports and documentation, no personally identifiable information will appear; thus, children’s privacy will be protected.
The sample size will be around sixty school-age children. The following inclusion criteria will need to be met: age 7-12, the diagnosis of overweight/obesity. After medical examinations, children with vision issues, cardiovascular disease, joint disease, chronic respiratory disease, and musculoskeletal disease will be excluded from the sample. Participants will be recruited at two local primary schools, and organizational meetings with research groups and these children’s parents will be held there. The research procedure will include the following steps:
- Data collection: age, sex, BMI levels;
- Educational lecture for children in the comparison group and their parents (topics: the principles of healthy nutrition, healthy cooking at home, ways to reduce TV viewing and its benefits);
- Assigning trainers to the intervention group and starting the program (30-40 minutes of warming up and jogging three times a week);
- Post-experiment BMI measurement and data analysis.
The required instruments are weight scales, height charts, and BMI charts for different ages.
Data Analysis and Outcomes to Be Evaluated
The extent to which each of the two interventions impacts weight loss will be evaluated by comparing the pre-and post-experiment BMI scores of the intervention and comparison groups. Then, two-sample t-tests will be utilized to draw comparisons between the groups and define a more effective intervention. Importantly, to identify categories of children that benefit from strategy one or two more than the others, inter-group differences will be analyzed. Thus, it is possible to define whether the effects of the strategy depend on children’s gender and age.
In case of success in weight normalization, the results will be disseminated among the parents of school-age children in the state, physical education teachers, pediatricians, and professional child health organizations. Therefore, more people in the state will be aware of effective strategies to normalize weight in children.
The proposed experimental study is focused on solving one of the severest problems affecting the nation’s health – weight issues in childhood. The project’s importance is also linked to the fact that it will analyze the BMI outcomes of a specific physical exercise, not physical activity in general. Depending on the results, teachers and healthcare professionals will be able to improve lesson plans or patient education to reduce the incidence of childhood obesity.
Andersen, L., Myers, L., O’Malley, K., Rose, D., & Johnson, C. C. (2016). Administrative and school nutrition perspectives of salad bar operations in public schools. The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, 40(2), 1-11.
Frisvold, D. E. (2015). Nutrition and cognitive achievement: An evaluation of the School Breakfast Program. Journal of Public Economics, 124(1), 91-104.
Guo, Y., Liu, L., Lv, Y., Tang, P., Feng, Y., Wu, M., … Jonas, J. B. (2019). Outdoor jogging and myopia progression in school children from rural Beijing: The Beijing children eye study. Translational Vision Science & Technology, 8(3), 2-13.
Lassiter, J. W., & Campbell, A. L. (2019). Effect of an elementary school walking program on physical activity and classroom behavior. The Physical Educator, 76(1), 485-501.
Metgud, D. C., Hungund, A. A., & Kulkarni, A. A. (2018). Effect of school-based intervention program for children with obesity: A randomized control trial. Indian Journal of Health Sciences and Biomedical Research (KLEU), 11(2), 146-150.