School-Based Intervention Trials for the Prevention of Childhood Obesity Research Proposal

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School-Based Intervention Trials for the Prevention of Childhood Obesity

When it comes to the issue of childhood obesity, there are many factors that have to be considered. Proper parenting is important, the media is blamed for a lot of the obesity that is seen today, and, increasingly, the schools are also being blamed for not working hard enough at ensuring that the children in their care eat properly and get enough exercise. This study looks at interventions in schools as a way to curb the rising epidemic of childhood obesity.

This is very important, because these overweight children turn into overweight adults, and as this takes place their risks for serious disease not only rise, but they start much earlier than they would have if the children would have remained thin and active. Whether athletics in schools - and what kind of athletics in schools - really help these children is largely the focus here, as well as whether gender and/or parental involvement have anything to do with how these children react to obesity interventions and whether these interventions are seen to be successful.

Chapter One: Introduction

Background of the Research

Statement of the Problem

Rationale for the Study

Obesity Theories

Research Questions

Overview of the Study

Chapter Two: Review of Related Literature

Chapter Three: Methodology

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Population and Sample

Data Collection Method

Chapter Four: Data Analysis

Chapter Five: Summary, Recommendations, and Conclusion


Chapter One: Introduction

Background of the Research

TOPIC: Research Proposal on School-Based Intervention Trials for the Prevention of Childhood Obesity Assignment

Years ago, there were very few overweight children, but in recent years, the number of children who are overweight or obese has been rapidly climbing. The theory was that the increased obesity rates in children were related to this problem, and the purpose of this paper is to look at the problems that overweight and obese children have, both physically and emotionally and how schools can intervene in this tragedy and work to lessen the number of obese children in this country.

One of the chief concerns when it comes to childhood obesity and problems with weight gain is the amount of fast food that children consume (Gillman, et al., 2001). Over the last 20 years or so, fast food purchases in this country have increased until they take up 40% of the money spent on food in the average household (Gillman, et al., 2001).

More concerns have also been raised based on how much soda children consume and how much time they spend watching television (Gillman, et al., 2001). In 1972, children drank an average of 27 gallons of soda a year per child. By 1992, that number had risen to 44 gallons per child (Gillman, et al., 2001). Portion sizes are also going up, and all of these things together are working against many children when they try to keep their weight at an appropriate level (Gillman, et al., 2001). The amount of children that ride bicycles is decreasing in the United States, and in some other countries across the world (Gillman, et al., 2001). Other countries still use bicycles as a popular and common means of transportation. The Netherlands has 30% of trips made by bicycle, but the U.S. only has 1% (Gillman, et al., 2001).

Statement of the Problem

It does not appear that there is an easy way to fix the problem (Epstein, Valoski, Vara, McCurley, Wisniewski, Kalarchian, Klein, & Shrager, 1995). Many parents are too busy to pay much attention to exactly what their children are eating, and family mealtimes are nonexistent in many households throughout the country today (Epstein, et al., 1995). More and more children are eating in front of the television or snacking on high calorie foods or fast food instead of eating home cooked, good quality meals (Epstein, et al., 1995).

There are fast food businesses that do offer healthier choices, but most children prefer choices that are less healthy (Epstein, et al., 1995). Without parents watching them to ensure that they eat properly and get enough exercise many children spend their free time in front of the television with a bag of chips or some other unhealthy snack in front of them, and soda usually comes with the snack (Epstein, et al., 1995).

It is also true that genetics plays a part in weight gain and obesity, but it is not impossible for someone who comes from a family of obese people to remain thin (Epstein, et al., 1995). Obesity is a large concern and this does not just have to do with physical consequences (Epstein, et al., 1995). There are also neurological effects and many other problems that come to light with obese and overweight children (Epstein, et al., 1995).

Many of these children are clinically depressed and they often choose to eat when they feel sad (Epstein, et al., 1995). This only contributes to the obesity problem and does not allow the children to find ways in which they can safely lose weight and feel more comfortable with their bodies (Epstein, et al., 1995). Only by teaching them appropriate ways to lose weight and keep it off can these children actually find ways to do this and feel better about themselves (Epstein, et al., 1995).

Rationale for the Study

When children begin to lose weight their resolve will be increased and their interest in other activities will often also go up because they will no longer feel that they are restricted and trapped by their larger bodies (Mokdad, Serdula, Dietz, Bowman, Marks, & Koplan, 1999). However, not all children are able to lose weight regardless of the methods that are tried and the reasoning behind it and these children will grow up to be overweight adults as well.

Many of these individuals will continue to feel badly about themselves and will often grow up and raise children that are also overweight (Mokdad, et al., 1999). It is believed that there is some genetic component to this, as obesity and overweight does appear to run in families (Mokdad, et al., 1999). However, as has been mentioned, not everyone who grows up in an obese family becomes obese themselves and it is possible for children who have obese or overweight parents to remain thin.

However, it is often more of a struggle for these children because they do not have the genetic predisposition to be thin and they also have the influence of their parents overeating around them all of the time as they are growing up (Mokdad, et al., 1999). They see this and believe that it is the proper way to eat and therefore they do not learn as much as they need to about smaller portion sizes and nutrition (Mokdad, et al., 1999).

Being large and eating heavily is therefore perceived in these families to be normal (Mokdad, et al., 1999). If these children were raised in families where individuals ate properly and maintained a healthy body weight, their genetics may not be quite so strong of a factor and environment would actually play more of a role in obesity than the genetic predisposition either for or against it (Mokdad, et al., 1999).

Obesity Theories

Theories have been presented that discuss both of these issues, and whether genetics or environment play the largest role in overeating and obesity has yet to be determined. There are arguments both ways and it is often very difficult to find proof of either issue. However, despite the disagreement as to what exactly causes obesity in children, there is widespread agreement that this is a serious problem for this country and it only continues to get worse (Mokdad, et al., 1999). It can be argued that genetics is the cause, but this seems somewhat unlikely in the face of the evidence (Mokdad, et al., 1999).

For example, the number of overweight individuals has grown rapidly in this country in the last decade or so (Mokdad, et al., 1999). It is difficult to convince individuals that genetics have changed that much and therefore it must be the environment that causes so much obesity (Mokdad, et al., 1999). That is not to say that genetics does not play any particular role at all in whether someone is overweight or thin. However, many of the children who are ending up overweight or obese do not have a genetic predisposition to this issue (Mokdad, et al., 1999). They are victims of sedentary lifestyles and overeating, not genetics, and this raises many concerns about the type of lifestyles that Americans are living today (Mokdad, et al., 1999).

Fast food and soda seem largely to blame, as does the sedentary lifestyle that many children and adults are leading today (Mokdad, et al., 1999). Because neighborhoods and other areas have a come so spread out it is no longer feasible to walk or bicycle to work in many places (Mokdad, et al., 1999). Most people must drive several miles to go to work each day and children that previously would have walked to school often find themselves living too far away to do so (Mokdad, et al., 1999).… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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School-Based Intervention Trials for the Prevention of Childhood Obesity.  (2009, January 31).  Retrieved September 28, 2021, from

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"School-Based Intervention Trials for the Prevention of Childhood Obesity."  January 31, 2009.  Accessed September 28, 2021.