The problem of childhood obesity is an important part of the list of health problems since such an issue at an early stage may cause serious consequences in the future. In order to analyze the ways of fighting this disease and assess the degree of physicians’ interest, the study “Dynamics of Childhood Growth and Obesity: Development and Validation of a Quantitative Mathematical Model” by Hall, Butte, Swinburn, and Chow (2014) will be considered. Their quantitative mathematical model may be valuable in combating obesity among children and adolescents.
Background of Study
The clinical problem is increasing the number of children with excess weight and, as a consequence, concomitant diseases. In order to conduct an in-depth analysis, the amount of food consumed is considered to be one of the assessment tools. Therefore, “the problem of food intake that is in excess of energy requirements for healthy growth and development” is the main research problem (Hall et al., 2014, p. 97).
The significance of the study is that, according to the authors, there is “the high prevalence of childhood obesity and the associated health and economic consequences” (Hall et al., 2014, p. 97). The purpose of this research is “to predict quantitatively how childhood bodyweight will respond to obesity interventions” (Hall et al., 2014, p. 97). The research questions to be answered may be the following ones:
- How many calories do boys and girls need daily?
- What are the differences in energy consumption in children and adults?
- What interventions can be useful for the treatment of obesity?
The purpose and research questions certainly relate to the stated problem, and the corresponding methods are used for a comprehensive analysis and an in-depth study. The article has justifications for the value of all the techniques used, and all steps are explained and evaluated from a practical point of view. No minor tasks are addressed, and the emphasis is solely on the issue under consideration.
Methods of Study
The authors identified temporary benefits of children’s participation, and no risks were determined (Hall et al., 2014). Informed consent was obtained from the participants, and no ethical norms were violated because the subjects took part voluntarily. Institutional review board approval was not mentioned, but it is likely that the research was conducted officially. As the main independent variable, the changes of energy expenditure were defined, and as a dependent one, body composition was identified.
The data were collected by evaluating the medical indices of children of different ages, and the authors provided a rationale that different amounts of energy were required for the comprehensive development of preschoolers and adolescents (Hall et al., 2014). The time period for data collection was not mentioned. However, the sequence of procedures was described: the consent of the participants was obtained, the medical indicators were taken, and the corresponding assessment systems were calculated. As the data management and analysis methods, graphs and scales were compiled for clarity. The authors did not discuss how the rigor of the process was assured, and no statistical software was used to ensure the accuracy of the analysis (Hall et al., 2014). Also, no measures to minimize the effects of researcher bias were mentioned, and the results were not compared from different positions.
Results of Study
According to Hall et al. (2014), their interpretation is that their model used “quantifies the energy excess underlying obesity and calculates the necessary intervention magnitude to achieve bodyweight change in children” (p. 97). Confidence in the results is not enough because the benefit is temporary, and a deeper study of intervention programs is required, despite the fact that the conclusions can be valid. The authors argue the limitation of their research “is that some individual children might not be well represented by the model parameters that seem to adequately capture the average group dynamics exemplified in this study” (Hall et al., 2014, p. 104). Nevertheless, a coherent logic to the presentation of findings was presented. The findings may have implications for nursing practice; for example, junior medical staff can use the results of the study as a rationale for working with young patients. Hall et al. (2014) offer to explore the topic of energy intake in further studies to find additional justification for the effectiveness of their model.
No information concerning the approval of the study by an Institutional Review Board was given. However, patient privacy was protected since no names were mentioned in the research, and medical records were the only sources to analyze. There were no ethical considerations regarding the treatment. Nevertheless, all the procedures performed did not violate any moral principles, and the purpose was to help children and adolescents with obesity.
The quantitative mathematical model presented in the article may help children and adolescents in their treatment of obesity. The theses given are significant from the point of view of the problem’s urgency. The results of the study can be useful in nursing practice since the findings allow coordinating the lifestyle of young patients with obesity and help them to restore the correct mode of eating. The amount of energy needed is one of the main components of the diet, and the findings may contribute to making the best treatment and conducting appropriate nursing interventions.
Hall, K. D., Butte, N. F., Swinburn, B. A., & Chow, C. C. (2014). Dynamics of childhood growth and obesity: Development and validation of a quantitative mathematical model. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol, 1, 97-105. Web.