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Introduction : Child Obesity- Consequences on Health and Social Life
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A process like the development of obesity is not well understood and is considered to be a multi-cause disorder. The growing prevalence of obesity worldwide is influenced by environmental influences, dietary choices and a cultural climate. In both developed and developing countries, child obesity has hit epidemic heights. In childhood, overweight and obesity have major impacts on physical and mental health (Sahoo et al., 2015). Excessive weight and obesity of children will remain the same throughout their lifespan and will develop non-communicable disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The following report will analyse such a vital issue concerning social and health consequences.
2. Research Question and Aim
The research aims to evaluate the expert opinions of the social and health consequences of overweight and obesity issues among children. The report, in this process, is focused on addressing some key questions, which are:
- How severe is the issue of child obesity at a global level?
- Which sub-group of the population faces the most child obesity issue?
- What is the result of obesity and overweight among children on their social and health status?
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In this research report, the researcher introduced the research of secondary strategy and identified the core elements in the understanding of social and health consequences of childhood obesity. A qualitative research approach is the most effective way to analyse the data collected using the secondary process of collecting and analysing data. The research is focused on a qualitative method of research. The researcher considers the significance and collects the necessary and appropriate data concerning the issue statement by means of carefully evaluating the literary articles using a qualitative analysis approach.
3.2 Sampling Strategy
The study aims to analyze and identify the findings and problems and find a comprehensive and acceptable reaction to the data. Secondary data collection uses books, newspapers, news posts, blogs, etc. as the sample, according to Levashina et al. (2014). The collection of data as samples thus plays a key role in obtaining reliable outcomes. In this study, the researcher gathered knowledge through a qualitative approach for analyzing 5 literary reviews of articles on the topic of child obesity. Thus, factual information was collected although some gaps arose in collecting data which caused difficulties in obtaining adequate conceptual data on obesity among children. In order to ensure that the data collected offers larger study possibilities, the researchers selected the data and collected the sample with utmost caution.
3.3 Ethical Considerations
Qualitative healthcare research was carried out in such a way that related concepts, observations and phenomena were defined and presented and explained and healthcare knowledge was acquired. The use of secondary data is sometimes considered to alleviate the researcher of the expense to ask for ethical consent, and often to worry altogether about ethics. However, the entire research process requires ethical considerations as to whether primary data processing is concerned or not. The use of other researchers' fictional works is a particularly ethical activity itself. The current research has used the literary articles with proper referencing and mention of the authors.
3.4 Data management and analysis
The secondary data collection method demands the review of various books, journals, articles, online statistical data and other such secondary sources. (Mertens, Pugliese and Recker, 2017). Besides, fundamental research was carried out for determining the actual information for the data analysis process. The qualitative data was, however, evaluated in the study using hypothetical methodologies. In comparison, the entire data collection phase during the study helped to meet both academic evaluation requirements and research data analysis which also helped to define the standard research conclusion.
4. Findings and Discussions
The consequence of a rise in caloric and fat consumption is commonly believed to be related to overweight and obesity. On the other hand, there is convincing evidence that soft drinks have played an important role in the rising rates of obesity around the world due to excess sugar consumption, apart from the impact of increased portion size and steady reduced physical activity. Obesity in children can have a significant effect on the physical, social and emotional wellbeing, and self-appreciation of children. It is also related to low school success and a decreased quality of life among children. As per Xu and Xue (2016), in tandem with childhood obesity, there are also a significant variety of co-morbid disorders such as a gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, orthopaedic, neurological, hepatic, and pulmonary and kidney disease.
In this context, Mavrovouniotis (2012) has stated in his research, "Inactivity in childhood and adolescence: a modern lifestyle associated with adverse health consequences”, that the energy spent by children nowadays is 400% less than their counterparts of 40 years earlier and these children, compared to the time of 30years ago, are 40% less active. The author identified the reason for such condition being the kinetic restrictions which characterise both adults and children in today's world. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the causes most closely associated with obesity. The rate of obesity rose by 2 per cent per day for each additional hour of television. Television has increased dramatically between young children and teenagers in recent times. The longer time spent in sedentary activities reduced the time spent on physical exercise. Research that shows children's spending hours on television leads to their eating of the most common items, including sweetened cereals, salty snacks, chocolate and sweetened drinks. Children these days do not merely receive less exercise, but less small activities on daily basis too, including running, playing, walking etc. They do not participate in any type of physical activity; instead, they are mostly opting out for playing computer or mobile games or watch television. Goisis, Martinson and Sigle (2019) have supported this opinion in his work, "When richer doesn't mean thinner: Ethnicity, socioeconomic position, and the risk of childhood obesity in the United Kingdom”, where he stated that 20% children in the UK, born around 2001, were under the category of overweight or obese at an average age of 5 and 26% obese children were around 11 years old.
Several reviews of the literature have been established after examining the variables that work behind poor diet and offer proper knowledge on how these factors causing child obesity and which groups of the population are the most affected by these factors (Sahoo et al., 2015). The research of Goisis, Martinson and Sigle (2019) has revealed that the prevalence of obesity or overweight among children is not distributed uniformly throughout the entire population sub-groups of UK. The research established the fact that children from the poorer background are probable to be facing these issues more than the privileged ones since poor children are exposed to poorer behaviours regarding mental health and thus follows a worse patter of diet and low-level physical activity. Eating disorder-related characteristics tend to be prevalent in obese teenagers, particularly girls. There have been a variety of trials of obese children which have indicated higher prevalent eating disorder (e.g. anorexia, Bulimia Nervosa and impulsion regulation). The authors mentioned the interethnic variation in this scenario, to demonstrate the socio-economic disparity and health behaviours among children. The finding here addresses the research question regarding the influence of obesity over the health and social lives of children. The evidence shown in this research states that obesity is more prominent among children with parents belonging to an ethnic minority in the UK compared to the White parents, because of being socio-economically disadvantaged.
Many researchers, on the other hand, have blamed the tendency of radical marketing of unhealthy food through television or electronic media. Researchers like Darwin (2009), Bartlett and Garde (2017) and Garde, Davies and Landon (2017) have researched this concept and contributed some valuable information and insight over the food advertising being one of the key reasons of obesity among children today. In the article "Advertising Obesity: Can the U.S. Follow the Lead of the UK in Limiting Television Marketing of Unhealthy Foods to Children?”, Darwin (2009) has stated that that obesity among children in the US has tripled since the 1970s, and advertisements of unhealthy foods on television are connected with the unhealthy eating habits. There is an ongoing debate in the food marketing industry representatives, advocates of public policy and officials in government in the US regarding the possibility of relying on self-regulation attempts or implementation of guidelines built by governments. The author has observed the implementation of self-regulatory programmes by the media and advertising of foods and beverage production and retail businesses. In the UK, according to Darwin (2009), the issue has been seriously discussed but with more proactive steps for forceful and direct action against specific advertising practices that target children and decided to completely ban the advertisement of such food categories. This regulatory plan received criticism from the public advocates and found to be weak by them. Their consideration was for the timing and selection of food advertising by Ofcom, which imposed stricter regulations on this matter.
Despite challenges in evaluating the media's influence empirically, the further study underlines the value of not underestimating advertisement impacts. Adolescent threats, smoking and development of unrealistic body standards have been shown to have media consequences. Control in the promotion of unhealthy goods and media coverage for healthier eating was suggested. This concern of the marketing of unhealthy food deserves the mention of the recommendations provided by WHO, which turned more pressing in terms of various advanced forms of marketing like digital marketing. Bartlett, O. and Garde, A., (2017), in their article "The EU's failure to support Member States in their implementation of the WHO Recommendations: How to ignore the elephant in the room?”, have stated that European Union has failed to maintain the EU regulatory framework to implement the restrictions recommended by WHO and the level of the effectiveness of this implication is lower. Garde, Davies and Landon (2017) have supported this opinion in their research on the "The UK Rules on Unhealthy Food Marketing to Children”. The authors explained that the degree of the discretion is a matter of being pivotal in proportion with principles, through a board margin are granted to the member states with a broad margin of discretion in adopting measures that may restrict the trading for protecting the public health. EU is confronting such a challenge primarily due to cost and uncertainty which might have involvement in the defence of the adoption of restrictions of WHO, intended to be implemented on strong marketing.
WHO and UK regulatory authority have explained that these kinds of marketing have an adverse effect on the mental health of children, leading to a decrease in physical health as well. However, the criticism from the media and producers of food and beverages have claimed that such advertisement has minimal impact on the mental health of the children. They have radically opposed the rules and regulations on advertisement in the UK along with the proposal of such regulation in the US, which they consider to the completely ineffective and unnecessary. According to them, food marketing does not lead to obesity among children, though the outcome of such advertisements works effectively as tools for attracting children towards unhealthy foods. Mavrovouniotis (2012) has shown in his research that excessive advertisement regarding snacks shown in television and digital media expose the children to purchasing and consuming more foods that are unhealthy and contain high-calorie. The author has observed that at least one food commercial is shown in every 5 minutes, influencing them to eat more snacks, soft drinks, candy and other such food items, rather than vegetables or fruits. For an example of the effect, 1600 calorie is consumed in a day by a 4 years old child who watches TV for around 2.4 hours per day. Based on the study of WHO, it is evident that there is a 63%v chance of bullying against the children going to school and experiencing the issue of obesity (www.euro.who.int, n.d.). Such act of bullying and victimisation by family, friends or peers is possible to trigger the feelings of shame and cause depression, lower self-esteem, the poor judgement regarding own body and above everything, suicide. The attitudes from teachers and other elders based on the weight of the children can include less expectation from them and this result into their improvement to be slow in terms of education and academic performance; sometimes even to turn into failure. Consequently, the scopes and opportunities of the lives of these children are severely affected and thus leading to inequalities in social and health factors.
The issue of child obesity is increasing drastically and society needs to be more proactive in solving this issue worldwide, as well as the government of both developed and developing countries. The extreme impact of unhealthy food advertising has been analytically discussed in this report which influences the mental and physical health of the children, leading to a decline in social status as well. Alongside, the study has identified the people with the poor economic background being more prone to facing this issue.
Bartlett, O. and Garde, A., 2017. The EU's failure to support Member States in their implementation of the WHO Recommendations: How to ignore the elephant in the room?. European Journal of Risk Regulation, 8(2), pp.251-269.
Darwin, D., 2009. Advertising obesity: Can the US follow the lead of the UK in limiting television marketing of unhealthy foods to children. Vand. J. Transnat'l L., 42, p.317.
Garde, A., Davies, S. and Landon, J., 2017. The UK Rules on Unhealthy Food Marketing to Children. European Journal of Risk Regulation, 8(2), pp.270-282.
Goisis, A., Martinson, M. and Sigle, W., 2019. When richer doesn't mean thinner. Demographic Research, 41, pp.649-678.
Levashina, J., Hartwell, C.J., Morgeson, F.P. and Campion, M.A., 2014. The structured employment interview: Narrative and quantitative review of the research literature. Personnel Psychology, 67(1), pp.241-293.
Mavrovouniotis, F., 2012. Inactivity in childhood and adolescence: a modern lifestyle associated with adverse health consequences. Sport Science Review, 21(3-4), pp.75-99.
Mertens, W., Pugliese, A. and Recker, J., 2017. Quantitative data analysis. A companion.
Sahoo, K., Sahoo, B., Choudhury, A.K., Sofi, N.Y., Kumar, R. and Bhadoria, A.S., 2015. Childhood obesity: causes and consequences. Journal of family medicine and primary care, 4(2), p.187.
www.euro.who.int. (n.d.). World Obesity Day: Understanding the social consequences of obesity. [online] Available at: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/obesity/news/news/2017/10/world-obesity-day-understanding-the-social-consequences-of-obesity#:~:text=Studies%20indicate%20that%20school%2Daged [Accessed 26 Nov. 2020].
Xu, S. and Xue, Y., 2016. Pediatric obesity: Causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment. Experimental and therapeutic medicine, 11(1), pp.15-20.
Xu, S. and Xue, Y., 2016. Pediatric obesity: Causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment. Experimental and therapeutic medicine, 11(1), pp.15-20.