Obesity is a health condition in which surplus body fats accumulate. Excess fats negatively impact the health of both adults and children across the world (Burns & Grove, 2010). It would be critical to underscore that the emotional and social well-being of an individual is as significant as physical health (Burns & Grove, 2010). Some of the direct effects of the condition are physical illness and death. Thus, there is a need to address the direct effects of obesity among children. In addition, it has indirect effects, for example, low self-esteem, the decline in performance as well as stigmatization.
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These, in turn, make it necessary to investigate the indirect impacts. There have been problems in understanding whether obesity is a private or community concern in many countries. Costs spent in relation to obesity cases by both individuals and communities demonstrate that it is both a private and a community concern (Burns & Grove, 2010). Therefore, it is important to address sections on direct and indirect effects of childhood obesity, and whether it is a private or community concern. This paper aims at discussing the effects of obesity on African-American children. Answers to the following questions will be explored:
- What are the direct effects of obesity on African-American children?
- What are the indirect effects of obesity on Black-American children?
- Are the effects of obesity on Black-American children a private or community health concern?
Current and recent literature review related to the research topic
A study was conducted in the US by Monasta and colleagues (2010) to investigate the effects of chubbiness among Black-American children. The researchers utilized empirical and theoretical sources of knowledge in the review of the literature. This is because the “two sources are crucial in conducting research” (Burns & Grove, 2010, p. 92).
The literature review employed both quantitative and qualitative investigations. A quantitative study was important in directing the preparation and implementation of the study, while the qualitative review was done after data were collected to prevent the information collected from influencing researchers’ honesty (Burns & Grove, 2010). The researchers found that obesity has various direct effects. Since most parents of obese children do not perceive it as a disease, they do not emphasize on reversing the condition (Monasta et al., 2010).
This implies that the condition is not reversed, making the children experience various impairments in domains of functioning. For example, they become sick frequently (Monasta et al., 2010). Despite the fact that childhood obesity does not have recognized medical symptoms, social and emotional factors have immediate implications on children’s lives. This is demonstrated in discrimination, stigmatization, and negative stereotyping the obese children are subjected to by other children (Hong & Espelage, 2012). Another effect of childhood obesity among Black American children is evident in physical health (Farhat et al., 2010).
Current statistics show that stoutness cases have doubled since 1980s. Findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the condition is common in children and adolescents. In fact, about forty million children that are under five years are the most affected (Healy, 2012). According to a study conducted in the US, there are 40 million children who are obese worldwide (Healy, 2012). Overweight cases have indirect effects on both the individuals and the communities. First, it is expensive to revert and contain. A lot of money is spent to take care of chubby children (Withrow & Alter, 2011).
This is done individually, nationally, and globally. The funds that could be spent on development projects are used to purchase drugs and equipment that would be utilized by obese kids (Flegal et al., 2012). Thus, chubbiness denies them potential earnings, rendering them dependants (Withrow & Alter, 2011). Cases of obesity have continued to increase every year, especially in low and middle-income countries where African American children are the most affected (Healy, 2012). In a recent study carried out in the US by Daniels (2009), the researcher concentrated on evaluating whether obesity is a private or community concern.
The researcher noted it is a community concern as it is demonstrated in the costs that society incurs. According to Metcalf, Henley, and Wilkin (2012), a lot of money has been used to cater to their needs, instead of using it to develop the communities. The condition also affects the community because it becomes hard for the infected and the affected to relate with the ones who are not affected (Malik, Willett & Hu, 2012). The condition is viewed as a main public health problem in the 21st century (Malik, et al., 2012).
Discussions presenting more than one viewpoint about obesity in African American Children
In a study conducted in Australia, researchers from the University of Sydney focused on investigating the severity of obesity among boys and girls. The study compared the number of obese African American boys with girls in America (Ding & Gebel, 2012). It was found that cases of the condition were increasing at an alarming rate among girls than among boys. The researchers attributed the disparities to individual responsibilities. This was for the reason that most Black American girls have influential roles in families and organizations.
The roles could lead to stress that could result in overfeeding that is correlated with obesity (Ding & Gebel, 2012). Another study conducted in the US concentrated on determining the effectiveness of the church-based organization in solving stoutness among females and males (Lutfiyya et al., 2008). The researchers showed that when church-based organizations are used, 70% of the people affected by obesity go for counseling, while when clinical methods are used, only 25% people go for counseling. They cited the different methods that were utilized by different organizations as a core factor that yield the variation in the results (Lutfiyya et al., 2008).
In a study, researchers concentrated on investigating the prevalence rate of obesity cases and its effects on economic growth between African-Americans and Caucasians (Farhat et al., 2010). They indicated that the prevalence rates among African-Americans were higher compared with Caucasians, and the economic growth in Africa-American households was lower. This was attributed to the difference in their economy (Farhat et al., 2010).
Information from government agencies
The American Heart Association (2014) states that about thirteen million children in the US are obese. CDC (2014) has recommended a number of approaches that could be used to prevent cases of obesity among young persons. These include maintenance of healthy weights, breastfeeding, physical activity, and good nutrition (Brown & Summerbell, 2009; CDC, 2014).
According to the National Institute of Health (2014), exercise and diet are significant in maintaining a person’s body weight. In addition, a person would grow and develop normally, implying that he or she would be characterized by a strong immune system (Brown & Summerbell, 2009, National Institute of Health, 2014). The agency also states that body weight would be influenced by environmental factors that correlate with social and personal factors.
The American Cancer Association (2014) has found that obese people are at higher risks of developing breast, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, and rectum cancers than those who are not obese. The association cited that the percentage of cases attributed to obesity differed among different cancer types. The findings are supported by other studies (Siegel, Naishadham & Jemal, 2013).
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A study conducted by the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (2014) from the American Association Colleges of Nursing advocates for healthy eating and physical activities to reduce illnesses that are associated with various diseases, obesity being among them. In addition, Briefel and colleagues (2009) suggest that education curriculum should incorporate physical activity and a feeding program to assist in curbing obesity cases among African-American children.
In conclusion, obesity can be a dangerous condition if it is not addressed in advance. Mostly, overweight people fail to engage in physical activities for fear of getting sick and worsening the condition. As aforementioned, it is associated with poor diet and high fat content in food. This is because excellent nutrition is important for growth and development of children as well as maintenance of the required body weight of an individual. They have also indicated that African-American children have relatively high risks of becoming obese than white children. This is attributed to socioeconomic factors as well individual factors. Racial discrimination plays a significant role vis-a-vis contributing to obesity due to the development of stress, which could result in taking a lot of food.
Therefore, it would be vital for individuals and governments to adopt some measures to reduce cases of obesity since they are increasing at an alarming rate. Governments should ensure that their national economies are good, and that their citizens are earning enough funds that can sustain them. With regard to physical activities, citizens should exercise regularly in order to keep fit. State authorities should design curricula and include physical education. It would be crucial to note that if the matter would not be handled effectively, mortality rates with regard to the health condition would continue to increase.
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