Research Proposal Example on Childhood Obesity

Published: 2023-11-07
Research Proposal Example on Childhood Obesity
Essay type:  Proposal essays
Categories:  Health and Social Care Genetics Childhood
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1730 words
15 min read

The prevalence of childhood obesity has increased massively over recent decades in most countries around the world. In the last 30 years, the cases of the issue have risen by 17% among children and adolescents aged between 2 to 19 years in the United States (U.S.) (Brennan et al., 2014). Globally, 2010 research data indicated that over 42 million children under the age of five are obese or overweight. Among them, around 35 million are living in developing countries. The study's findings indicate that the prevalence of the disease is highest among children from lower-income families and ethnic minority communities. It is associated with severe health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension, and other psychosocial burdens.

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The disorders are capable of causing lifelong co-morbidities, deaths, and other devastating effects on society's structures. Therefore, the analysis conducted in this research focuses on establishing the potential causes and associated factors of childhood obesity and presents different arguments concerning the issue. Besides, the review proposes and discusses a possible solution that can be used to reduce or solve the problem of childhood obesity.

Obesity or overweight among children occurs when they are well above the normal or healthy weight and height for their age. The causes of the condition for children or adolescents are similar to those in adults. Several research studies have identified that the increased prevalence of childhood obesity is caused by a wide range of factors, including genetics, individual and social behaviors, psychological issues, and social-cultural and environmental factors. For instance, Sahoo et al. (2015) argue that one of the most significant obesity elements relates to genetics since 25-40% of body mass index (BMI) is heritable.

It means that these factors originate from the parents and are passed to the children leading to overweight. However, genetic factors' susceptibility requires contributing behavioral and environmental factors to impact a child’s weight. Therefore, genetics only adds to the development of obesity but does not necessarily account for the massive increase in the disorder globally. This factor is responsible for not more than 5% of cases of early overweight and childhood obesity (Sahoo et al., 2015).

Elsewhere, in their argument, Xu and Xue (2016) indicated that childhood is caused by behavioral factors such as dietary patterns and levels of engagement in physical activities. The factors for early childhood obesity that relate to diets are the consumption of fast food, snack foods, sugary beverages, and drinking of other high-calorie products. In recent years, most families, especially those with both parents working full-time, prefer fast food. It is because these food products are convenient to the parents’ work schedules and are also inexpensive. Also, the children favor these types of foods since they are readily available to them and allow them to visit and explore different restaurants.

However, food products are always deficient in nutritional content and have a high number of calories. On the other end, the examination of sugary beverages such as soda and other sweetened drinks has revealed that they increase one’s BMI by small amounts over some time of usage (Sahoo et al., 2015). The consumption of sugary drinks is more dangerous than fast food since they are less filling and quick to consume, leading to a high intake of calories.

Behavioral factors also cover physical inactivity, which is an increasing trend among children worldwide. Xu and Xue (2016) argue that the majority of children today spend a lot of their time using technological devices such as televisions, mobile phones, video games, and computers. On average, children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend approximately eight hours out of 24 on their gadgets (Xu & Xue, 2016). With increased attention to sedentary behaviors, the amount of time on physical activities has been severely reduced.

Given the poor diets, exercise, and physical activities can assist in burin the accumulated calories and maintaining healthy or average weight based on their ages. Elsewhere, psychological issues such as early childhood stress, depression, and isolation can make children consume unhealthy foods to cope with the situation resulting in obesity.

Lastly, environmental and social-cultural factors play critical roles in developing obesity conditions among children. A child's environment includes the schools, homes, and community, which impacts the development of the child by promoting or reducing opportunities for physical activities (Sahoo et al., 2015). They can facilitate children's experiences and shape their behaviors in terms of physical activities and dietary patterns. The communities in which they reside can provide opportunities for accessing the appropriate food and affordable physical activities.

The media is also a significant component of the environment, and it can promote sedentary lifestyles through extensive viewing, or advocate for healthy lifestyles. On the other hand, schools adopt different policies, for instance. In contrast, others provide buses as a transport means to school and back home, and others allow children to walk and ride to school as a way of embracing physical activities (Sahoo et al., 2015).

Various research studies have identified several interventions to reduce the prevalence and treat obesity among children. However, the selection and application of the treatment measures are controversial since not all of them will be effective or affordable to all communities. For instance, according to Howard’s report on CNN (2019), pediatricians have identified surgery as a measure to reduce weight among severely obese children and adolescents.

Traditionally, this procedure has always been conducted only on overweight adults who cannot reduce their weight by other means. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended the strategies of bariatric and metabolic surgeries as secure options for overweight children (Lee, 2019).

The procedures involve the removal of part or all of the stomach through surgical means. It reduces the size of the stomach and limits its ability to absorb or hold much food. It helps the patients to feel full sooner and food to pass through the gastrointestinal tract in the end or instead through the end. These methods require patients to enroll to exercise programs and observe their dietary patterns before they undertake the surgical procedure. It encourages them to adopt different lifestyles after the surgery and discourages the reoccurrence of the problem.

However, my proposed solution for this global phenomenon is physical activity and behavior therapy. This is because the technique focuses on preventing and protecting children from developing the condition rather than treating it. Treatment based on physical activities involves incorporating unstructured and structured activities that will ensure that children engage in outdoor play and games (Pandita et al., 2016).

Whether at school or home, children must improve their muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness, bones, and metabolic health biomarkers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as cited by Pinto et al. (2018), children and adolescents of age between 5 to 17 years require not less than 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. The technique is beneficial to all the patients since it applies to all of them irrespective of race, age, gender, ethnicity, or even income level.

Childhood obesity is characterized by the formation of a low-grade chronic inflammation state due to the release of various cytokines (Pinto et al., 2018). Therefore, engagement in physical activities decreases the amount of these inflammatory cytokines.

It is also more effective than other strategies since its benefits are realized without necessarily making any other lifestyle alterations, such as changes in dietary patterns. For example, a study of 1640 children ages 3 to 15 years revealed that less physical activity is negatively associated with the risks of obesity (Hong et al., 2016). The dangers of developing obesity and overweight were reduced by 49% for the participants who observed the 60-minute-per-day guideline.

Also, frequent physical activities improve muscle growth, resulting in a reduction in the children’s blood pressure. Unlike dieting interventions that lead to short-term benefits, the impacts of physical activities result in long-term positive outcomes in a child’s adulthood. Besides, regular physical activity promotes insulin sensitivity among youths, which is crucial for individuals with type 2 diabetes.

On the other end, behavior therapy involves providing education and creating awareness of obesity-related health risks and nutritional routines to trigger behavioral alterations (Pandita et al., 2016). The strategy consists of the utilization of counseling tools to enable the children and their families to monitor the target behaviors. In doing so, they will be able to identify and recognize the behaviors that contribute to the development of their health conditions and use the feedback to implement the necessary changes.

Intensive behavioral therapy for obesity acts as a secure treatment method as it enables the involved parties on how to change their eating habits to lose weight. The technique involves one on one sessions with a therapist whose main aim is to target the poor habits that lead to obesity and rectify them. Unlike other interventions, behavioral therapy allows the therapist to screen for signs of depression since it goes hand in hand with obesity.

In general, childhood obesity is a worldwide pandemic, and its prevalence has increased over recent decades. The disorder is associated with the early development of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer. The risk factors for obesity and overweight among children and adolescents relate to psychological complications and behavioral, genetic, and environmental factors. The factors include dietary patterns such as food consumption and level of engagement in physical activities.

The disease can be treated or prevented through several techniques such as bariatric and metabolic surgery, which involves the removal of part or all stomach. However, in this paper, my proposed solution for the management of childhood obesity is physical activity and behavioral therapy. The strategy stands out for me since it focuses on solving the root cause of developing the condition rather than waiting to deal with the resulting consequences. Also, unlike other interventions, physical activity and behavioral therapy result in long-term benefits without applying other weight reduction measures such as modification of lifestyle.


Brennan, L. K., Brownson, R. C., & Orleans, C. T. (2014). Childhood Obesity Policy Research and Practice. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 46(1), e1–e16.

Hong, I., Coker-Bolt, P., Anderson, K. R., Lee, D., & Velozo, C. A. (2016). Relationship Between Physical Activity and Overweight and Obesity in Children: Findings from the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey National Youth Fitness Survey. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70(5), 7005180060p1.

Howard, J. (2019, October 27). Pediatricians endorse weight loss surgery for severely obese kids and teens. CNN Health. Accessed August 8, 2020, from

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