Childhood Obesity Prevention Essay

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The recent dramatic rise in prevalence of childhood obesity is a major public health issue. The extent of the epidemic and its short and long-term effects on physical and psychological health, including a potential reduction in life expectancy for future generations have made the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity a high priority (Sacher, 2012). Lowering the prevalence of childhood obesity requires a coordinated, multilevel approach that goes beyond the home to target schools and communities (Gooze, 2010). However, there are few successful examples of implementing such a multilevel approach (Economos, 2007), and we are not aware of any that have been evaluated in early childhood, when obesity prevention efforts should begin (Barlow, …show more content…
Social scientists have observed that additional children in the family may dilute available parental time and resources (Downey, 2001). Time and resource dilution may reduce the time that parents spend reading to, teaching, or playing with each child, which could affect cognitive development (Schor, 2008) and may make it harder for parents to attend to their children’s health care needs (Chen, 2008). Time and resource dilution may also lead parents to adopt more convenient routines, such as turning on the television and video games at home, which could result in higher rates of obesity. However, siblings may also serve as a stimulus for child-to-child interactions, cooperative play, or activities that increase the time each child devotes to physical activity. Older siblings may even serve as role models or share the caretaking role with parents. Additional siblings may decrease the availability of food for each child (thus lowering BMI), particularly for parents living in poverty. Studies on the treatment of childhood obesity have demonstrated the roles that parents play in children’s weight control and behaviors (Gruber,

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