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This paper is a research proposal comparing childhood obesity in United States of America and Saudi Arabia. The paper starts by defining the purpose statement of the research which is to establish on the rate of obesity between US and Saudi Arabia, the causes and how to overcome the disease. Then there is the description of the rationale followed by the literature review. The methodology that will be used in data collection is described and finally the expected outcome and their implications on the study and the children population at large.
The reason for doing this project is to establish the rate of Obesity amongst children in the US and Saudi Arabia. This has since become one of the growing problems that have affected the young people in terms of their lifestyle, health and general social behaviours. The research will evaluate on the causes of obesity and what should be done to prevent its effects on children.
The rationale of this study is to assert on the fact that obese children have social problems. Studies of overweight and obesity in have not been done adequately especially in young people. Studies on the prevailing change occurring amongst overweight and obese children over time are also lacking, hence the need for the research.
The purpose of the project is to do a survey on the prevalence of obesity and the intervention strategies of preventing the disease in children. Children will be considered a priority because, while 50% of the adults are overweight in many countries, it is difficult to control the problem once one is in adulthood stage. The question this research will answer is on how to deal with obesity in children and the necessary preventive measures.
Obesity is a global problem due to the increase in junk food; luxury devises easy means of transport and stationery jobs. The world health organization predicts that there will be over 2.3 billion overweight adults by 2015 and more than 700 million of them will be obese. In developed countries childhood obesity has reached alarming levels (Dehghan, 2008).
The trend of obesity has been discovered to cut across the whole population and affect people of all age and race. It has been found to have adverse effects on the health of children and is prevalent in developing countries as well as developed countries (Van, 1985). There are several other diseases associated with obesity which include paediatric hypertension and other chronic diseases. According to Al-Hazmi and Warsy (1999), the improvement in economic development has brought about change in eating habits of the Saudi Arabians.
This has mostly affected the children with statistics showing that 27.5% of overweight children are boys and 28% are girls. This was an estimate conducted on children between age 6 and 19 in a survey back in 1996 (Al-Nuaim, Bamgboye, Al-Herbish, 1996; Abahussain, 1999).
Studies have further revealed that almost 25% of the children in the United States are above the normal weight. A good percentage of these children suffer from obesity which have had adverse effects on their social lifestyles. There are certain factors that contribute to this disorder most of which are environmental and cultural.
The increase in number of obese children in the US can also be attributed to poor lifestyles leading to poor choice on food; high intake of sugary foodstuff is also one of the contributing factors. This eventually causes accumulation of fats within the body which sometimes leads to overweight (Abalkhail, 2002: Ghabrah,1997).
The level of obesity in most countries including the US is in the increasing trend. The causes of the disease are almost similar in these countries due to some reasons. Research has revealed that most children in the US are exposed to the consumption of dairy products and carbonated drinks. This leads to accumulation of sugar and fats within the body which consequently causes obesity especially when they are not exposed to vigorous physical exercises.
This is also reflected in the Saudi Arabia study which revealed the same results as lack of physical activities amongst the children. The children are not exposed to walking long distances since they mostly use family cars and at the same time spend a lot of time watching television, playing electronic games and using computers for longer duration (Abalkhail, 2002; Kuczmarski and Flegal, 2000).
In this research, both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies will be applied. Several methods will be used in qualitative research to gather data; these include the use of case studies, personal experiences amongst the sampled children and their parents and interviews.
Some data will be gathered through historical data and observation. These will help in exploring issues associated with obesity and answer some questions about the phenomenon. Main aim for qualitative research is to measure the degree of socialization amongst obese children and how to control obesity (Yin, 1994). Quantitative research will be used, where by analysis will be based on questionnaires, surveys and experiments.
Stratified random sampling will be used, where children will be surveyed from different schools. Each educational level will be considered depending on the class of population on the selected region. The required number of children will then be collected from each region, after which one group from each level will be chosen at random until the required sample size is full.
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Each sample will strictly consider children with either Saudi Arabia or United States origin (Chabra et al, 1997). The data will be collected through interview by nurses from medical institutions who will use structured questionnaires. The weight of the children and the height will be measured using tape measure, after which the body mass index will be calculated (Must, Dallal, Dietz, 1991). Data entry and analysis will be done using the SPSS, version 12.
Possible outcomes and Implications
The results are expected to reflect decrease in weight as age increases for both boys and girls. The height is not expected to change much, however the dominance of obesity was predicted to pose some negative experiences within the society.
The implications of these results will be to reveal the recommended time when treatment for obesity should be administered. Childhood period seem to be the most preferred time since weight loss in adult stage sometimes seems difficult to administer. There are also numerous options available for children interventions as compared to adults’.
The schools can be used as the primary base where a child’s lifestyle should be moulded, this may involve exposure to right kind of diet and vigorous physical exercises. Reduction of obesity in adults seems difficult since it is considered already established and this provides a good reason as to why obesity should be checked at an early stage of life (Abalkhail, 2002).
Abahussain, A., (1999). Nutritional status of adolescent girls in the eastern province Of Saudi Arabia. Nutrition and health, 13,171–7.
Abalkhail, B., (2002).Overweight and obesity among Saudi Arabian children and Adolescents between 1994 and 2000. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 8, 10-40
Al-Hazmi M., Warsy, S., (1999). Relationship between obesity, overweight and Plasma lipid in Saudis. Saudi medical journal, 20, 512–25.
Al-Nuaim, R., Bamgboye, A., Al-Herbish A., (1996). The pattern of growth and Obesity in Saudi Arabian male schoolchildren. International journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders, 20, 1000–5.
Dehghan, M., Danesh, N.A., & Merchant, A.T., (2008). Childhood obesity, Prevalence and prevention, Nutrition Journal, 4, 24
Ghabrah, T., (1997). The prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors among students In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Journal of family and community medicine, 4, 55–63.
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Yin, R. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods (2nd ed). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing.