Children's Nutrition Essay Sample

Published: 2022-06-01
Children's Nutrition Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Child development Nutrition
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1716 words
15 min read

In urban communities, influences from the environment put children in high danger of an unhealthy lifestyle, leading to ensuing health glitches. Occupational therapy practitioners have strived to support health and promote change in these urban communities with an aim to encourage affected children in increasing physical activity and improving health practices.

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Each child in the US has a right to grow in an environment that is healthy, safe, and supportive enough to afford them a chance to obtain a nourishing diet and healthful lives. However, environmental and cultural factors have contributed to increased childhood obesity. Most of the ecological and cultural factors have been related to inadequate access to crisp and healthy foodstuffs and absence of chances for bodily activities. Concerning limited opportunity of physical activities, most neighborhoods have insufficient access to green spaces and parks to allow children the time and space to conduct physical exercises. According to advocates of children, factors leading to obesity on children depict breach of the children's rights in that obesity in children has not only been labeled, an epidemic in public health, but also a social injustice towards children (Balcazar).

More likely than not, policies aimed at efficiently reducing childhood obesity can result in marked improvements in public health, consequently controlling high costs of treatment. For instance, an average hospital cost for obese children stands at approximately US$ 127 million annually (Stutts, 53). More attention has been paid to the significant aspects leading to the obesity problem. The problem includes a widespread availability of snacks and soft drinks in vending machines in the school as well as decreased physical activities among children attending physical education programs in schools. Research puts schools at the center of impacting children's lives, including their health behaviors. They form a comforting environment in which teachers can become examples of influencing children to cultivate inclinations for healthful food at a tender age. For instance, children should learn the importance of indulging in fruit and vegetable intake at early ages to maintain the nutrition habit as they grow up (Stutts, 54).

Prevalence rates of obesity among adolescents and children of school-going age have reached worrying levels in the past few decades, especially in the US. The rates have increased almost four-fold, both in the US and internationally. Research acknowledges that the burden has presented disproportionately among minority factions and families with low-income in these urbanized countries (Rush, 112). Examination according to race shows that Mexican-Americans were meaningfully more probable to encounter obesity as compared to non-Hispanic whites. Further, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, obesity prevalence among minority children differ significantly between non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and Mexican-Americans. The occurrence of overweight cases in children in the US has escalated by about 45% in the past two decades, with African-American girls noting an increase of over 120% during the same period (Rush, 112).

Many countries have documented the high levels of sub-optimal dietary behavior due to increased interest in food and cooking. Nutrition analyses report reduced levels of intake of vegetables and fruit and high consumption of energy-dense foods. However, fruit and vegetables give essential nutrients as opposed to the energy-dense foods which provide poor nutrients. Healthy nutritional behavior has become a significant aspect considering the underlying occurrence of persistent non-communicable illnesses (Black, 1). The surveys acknowledged that initial signs of persistent conditions and risk dynamics have progressively emerged in adolescents and children. Children have presented with chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, and obesity at alarming rates. Therefore, importance in promoting and supporting healthful eating practices from a tender age has presented as a critical issue.

The Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) specified in the United Nations Children's Fund that the fundamental children's rights were categorized into provision, protection, and participation. The Convention article provided for fundamental rights such as the entitlement to surviving, the benefit to full development, the eligibility to be sheltered from dangerous impacts and the entitlement to full participation in cultural, family and communal life. The document served a basis for support and development of the public plan by providing a basis for maintaining the application of rights of children to issues related to health. The convention document can, therefore, be employed openly to the health difference experienced by underserved children in urban communities (Balcazar, 114).

The rights of children dwelling in these underserved, urban communities rely on numerous external factors; including family practices and customs as well as community and school supports. While attempting to bring changes to reduce health disparity, practitioners adhere to occupational-based exercise models that allow them to remain centered on children. Furthermore, the models assist consultants in scheming and applying involvement that maximizes possible advantages from adequately coordinated relations involving the family system, the child, and their surrounding setting. Additionally, the perception that parents have on obesity risk factors influence the health of their children (Balcazar, 114).

The perception that parents have regarding obesity risk factors influences children's propensity to involve in physical activities at a tender age. Children establish their engagement in physical activities early in their lives, and the trend continues through adulthood. Occupational counselors can otherwise, enlighten guardians in the underserved societies on the significance of physical activity for the whole family. Further, the therapists can help them to establish customs and link them to available resources in the community. As a result, the parents would engage their children in physical activities and support them to curb obesity risk factors.

Since schools have also been realized to affect activity levels of children levels and health principles, the occupational counselors can operate with the system of the school to give opportunities that support extra physical activities and develop healthy habits within the school. For example, the therapists can establish a multi-tiered good routine initiative that focusses on augmenting professional involvement in supporting the establishment of healthful operation patterns and supporting children's rights. Another way could involve changing the habits of public school children during meal times. Adopting the therapist initiatives can bring a very significant change among school-going children and thus improve their health status (ARS Research Program on Children's Nutrition-And Obesity Prevention).

From healthy people 2020, the trend of obesity in children has escalated steadily from 1988 to 2004. Up to 2000, the increase has been steady for both girls and boys. However, from then to 2012, boys have been reported to have high levels of obesity compared to girls. Before 2002, the occurrence of obesity in children had not passed the desired mark of 14.5%. Further, in the report, boys have been reported to experience obesity more than girls over the years. Segregating the population by race, Hispanic males have reported high cases of obesity as compared to Black males and their white counterparts, who come in second and third respectively (Koh, 27). White children, however, have not surpassed the desired mark of 14.5%. In female children, Black children reported the highest cases of obesity as compared to their Hispanic and white counterparts, who come in second and third respectively. The report goes even further to segregate obesity according to income of families where the children come. Families with income below percentage poverty threshold reported high cases of obesity while families whose income surpassed percent poverty threshold reported fewer cases of obesity. In the family vs. obesity analysis, the report showed that the more the family income exceeded poverty threshold, the fewer cases of obesity reported. Finally, the report depicted that younger children (children between 2-5 years) reported reduced instances as compared to older children (children between 12-19 years) (Koh, 27).

In a suburb on the outskirts of Chicago, a team from an industrial counseling sector teamed up with a group of students to work with an elementary school to found a multi-tiered healthful lifestyle among the students (Olstad). In the initiative, they focussed on expanding professional involvement, upholding the advancement of desire, upholding the rights of children and establishing healthy performance patterns. With support from the school's administration, the program was integrated with related service personnel. Consequently, the school administration withdrew vending machines that were filled with low-nutrition high-calorie foods. Additionally, the administration requested parents to abstain from sending low-nutrition foods in during for snacks and birthday celebrations (Olstad). Further, the team introduced an open time for the gym every week before school to give children better opportunities for bodily activities. The children gave helpful intuitions into how much info they acquired from the scheme once motivated to disclose their attractions and interests.

In another instance, occupational therapy students focussed on altering the habits of school children from Chicago public school during lunchtime. In one of the predominantly Hispanic school, the team developed a healthy lifestyles curriculum. In the curriculum, the team introduced access to physical activity, salad bars during lunch hour and more health content through the curriculum. The group helped with the provision of health teaching to children with more stress on habits during mealtime by documenting the food selections for students during mealtimes. Additionally, the students were introduced new interests which saw some of them explore professional roles like farming. Consequently, the school children began choosing pieces from the salad bar to include in their meals. Moreover, children from that school increased their knowledge regarding fruits and vegetables (Olstad).

In a survey to determine the effective strategies to adjust nutritional consumption in children and to lower the high occurrence of persistent non-communicable illnesses in adults, reviews were conducted using the standards defined in the Cochrane Handbook and the Health Promotion guides (Black). The systematic literature exploration recognized 6122 articles, out of which 786 were salvaged for abstract evaluation. Majority of the studies were conducted in preschools with the most customary tactic including various parts to boost healthful consumption and other qualities of a healthy lifestyle (Black). The multiple component health programs involved a combination of program activities in classes, modification of food service in schools, activities at home, enhanced bodily activities among others. Fourteen of twenty-five school lessons incorporated attempts to include families. Though, the approval was insignificant.

In conclusion, parents should assist their children to adopt proper eating habits as well as get into good lifestyles from a tender age. Otherwise the cases of lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes will continue to develop in children from young ages.

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