Childhood Obesity and Nursing Considerations Research Paper

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Childhood Obesity and Nursing Considerations

Childhood obesity is quickly manifesting itself into one of the predominant health concerns of the decade. If Childhood Obesity remains on the exponential increasing trajectory that it currently holds then it will almost inevitably become an epidemic within the United States. The issue of childhood obesity has received such attention that First Lady Michelle Obama has embarked upon a national campaign to increase the healthy choices kids can select from at the lunch counter and has implored children to engage in increased levels of exercise.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a child is considered obese if they are above the 95th percentile of the Body Mass Index (Berkowitz, 2009). Children are at risk of becoming overweight, according to the CDC if they are above the 85th percentile but below the 95th percentile for Body Mass Index (Berkowitz, 2009). The statistical trends do not paint a pretty picture in terms of this issue. According to Berkowitz, those teenagers that are overweight face an 80% probability they will be obese as they enter into the first years of adulthood (Berkowitz, 2009). Even for younger children, those who are four years old, face a 20% probability of progressing into adulthood suffering from obesity.

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Childhood obesity is quickly becoming the favorite topic of politician and other law makers. There have been constant drum beats to regulate the foods that are offered in vending machines near schools, regulate the amount of sugar in certain foods; furthermore, some states, such as New York have instituted a tax on certain foods to discourage individuals, namely children, from consuming foods high in sugar and fat-two components that lend themselves to the persistent problem of childhood obesity.

Research Paper on Childhood Obesity and Nursing Considerations Childhood Obesity Assignment

The premise of this analysis is to examine the main issues surrounding childhood obesity. Nursing considerations abound when analyzing childhood obesity. This anlaysis will discuss these considerations as they relate to the field of nursing and childhood obesity. Furthermore, there are ethical, moral and legal issues surrounding childhood obesity. Each of these issues will be analyzed within the overall context of childhood obesity.

Discussion

Several researchers have described differing cultural views as the nexus' regarding the perceptions of childhood obesity (Crawford, 2004). According to some cultures, specifically the Hispanic/Latino community, there is an overall attitude that weight and health are not correlated into any significant relationship. Consequently, Hispanic/Latino children have a statistically significant probability of being overweight. This cultural attitude is confirmed in a study conducted at the outset of the decade. A study of over 200 Hispanic children revealed that 35% did not view their child as obese (Myers & Varga, 2000).

Minority children have higher percentages of increase compared to white children. Accordint ot a recent study African-American and Hispanic children presented an increase in prevalence by 10%; contrast this with increases in White children of less than 1% lends solid evidence to the premise that certain groups will have higher rates of obesity (Thorpe, 2004).

Nurses are at the front lines of the struggle against childhood obesity. However, nurses are unable to fight this battle alone. Nurses must take critical steps in dealing with childhood obesity. Nurses can engage in community awareness and other outreach programs as long as the program is tailored to the appropriate social and cultural classes (Garcia, 2006).

Those nurses who are at the forefront of community health care are the best positioned to introduce parents and children to these outreach programs. If nurses are to engage in these outreach programs they must possess strong advocacy and leadership skills.

Nurses must find ways to expand their abilities to enhance their advocacy skills on the national, state and local levels. Although many nurses have readily accepted this provider-advocate role, many are questionning the viability and appropriateness of a nurse engaging in such advocacy practices. A study conducted by Gebbin, et.al. (2000) conclusively found that the majority of nurses view effective community outreach as a natural extension of their role.

Concomitant with a nurse-practitioner's ability to conduct effective outreach is the leadership skills necessary to ensure those who need the information actually receive it (Berkowits, 2009). Collaborative leadership, according to Chrislip (1996) this leadership talent involves a shared leadership model. In order for the nurse to effectively address the issue of childhood obesity the nurse must establish a repor with the community. This roper can involve developing a deep sense of trust, insights and fostering a meaningful understanding of human behavior and power (Berkowitz & Nicola, 2003).

Each of these nursing considerations will lend themselves to assisting nurses in working with parents and other community organizers to address the issue of childhood obesity. In addition to these nursing considerations there are various ethical, moral and legal implications that factor into childhood obesity. These nursing considerations are not to be examined or reviewed in a vacuum but rather they should be considered in conjunction with other issues surrounding childhood obesity. The following section will deal with the ethical and moral issues encompassing childhood obesity.

The advent of childhood obesity has inevitably lead to a development in various modes of treatment designed to alleviate obesity in children. One of these treatements that is become quite popular is Bariatric surgery in children (Taylor,2009). There are several ethical issues that present themselves when considering this type of surgery in children. One is the controversy over the best time to surgically intervene in pediatric obestiy cases. The best timing depends on the magnitude of the patient's obesity-related conditions (Taylor, 2009). A natural outgrowth of pediatric bariatric surgery is the issue that this extensive surgery may compromise the growth and development in children who undergo the procedure at a relatively young age.

During adolescent development there is a rapid increase in neuromuscular development along with skeletal development. Bariatric surgery requires the patient is both physiologically prepared as well as psychologically ready. Although bariatric patients may be physically and physiologically prepared for surgery- it is observed that many of these patients are not psychologically prepared. This ultimately generates the ethical debate as to whether this type on invasive surgery is in the patient's best interest (Taylor, 2009). However, if the patient is a minor this decision becomes the parents responsibility- therefore the ethical considerations fall on the parents.

This dilemma ultimately leads to the discussion over the ethical issue revolving around issue of informed consent. The debate over what constitutes the age of consent is the many ethicist consider the age range between 8 and 14 to be appropriate ages for patient consent for significant physical treatment such as bariatric surgery must be reserved for those older children and adolescents. Furthermore it is ethically correct to require all decision-makers to reach a consensus on treatment (Taylor, 2009).

Yet another ethical consideration is that of disruptive justice; that is there a severe likelihood insurance companies may cease or not offer coverage for obesity conditions at all. Recent changes to the health care law makes it illegal for insurance companies to drop a patient due to pre-existing conditions. Additionally, the lack of payment ability may exacerbate the omnipresent disparities in the sociodemographic make-up of the obesity population. Socioeconomic factors are likely to exert a profound influence on health, although there are conflicting points-of-view on their link to childhood obesity. Data on household socioeconomic factors are often limited to self-reported parental education and income levels (Anderson, 2003). Percent poverty and poverty-to-income ratios have also been used to stratify survey participants by income groups. These twin indexes of parental education and household income levels, however, fail to fully convey the complexities of SEF and social class.

One definition of social stratification is unequal distribution of privileges among population subgroups. The focus on current incomes can mask major underlying disparities in material resources (e.g., car, house) and accumulated wealth (Caprio, 2009). Access to resources and services may not be equivalent for a given level of education or income (Anderson, 2003). Neighborhood of residence may influence access to healthy foods, opportunities for physical activity, the quality of local schools, time allocation, and commuting time (Anderson, 2003).

In conjunciton with post-operative ethical considerations involve the need for certain medications to be used for those children that have undergone surgery to correct their obesity. Female children, are normally placed on contraceptives once they have undergone bariatric surgery. Parents may find this objectionable because it could potentially sanction sexual activity within young children. This presents a tension between parents seeking to protect their children from the influences of society and medical professionals that require certain medications be implemented in order to lessen the transition after significant surgery.

Bariatric surgery is a broad surgical category. Related to this is the ethical construct as to the proper subtype of bariatric surgery. Gastric bypass is the most common type of bariatric surgery; however the surgery is totally irreversible (Taylor, 2009). As a direct result, there is an increased risk in chronic malabsorbtion in the pediatric population suffering from obesity. These ethical considerations lend themselves to further discussions regarding the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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