In recent years obesity levels in both adults and children have been rising drastically; according to the Department of Health (DOH), Public Health (2013) 30% of children aged between 2 and 15 are overweight or obese. My article; Tackling childhood obesity by Hunt C (2009), raises the issues of childhood obesity, the links with obesity and pregnancy, and the ways in which the public can prevent it. I aim to discuss how these rising levels of obesity in children will affect my career as a children’s nurse and the health promoting opportunities available.
The article also focuses on why childhood obesity is becoming so common and the many risks and health problems that come with it. However offers a method that can perhaps aid parents and carers with controlling a child’s diet. As a future nurse this subject is important to understand and to have a knowledge base on, because it is becoming a bigger issue with more and more children becoming obese in the United Kingdom.
Summary of Article
My chosen article by Hunt C (2009) introduces HENRY a training course for health and community practitioners. It stands for health, exercise, nutrition and the really young, and was designed by the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) and Hunt to combat childhood obesity. The HENRY approach aims to help parents and professionals deal with obesity, which some people may find difficult to address. Parents do not want to be criticised for their child’s eating habits or are dismissive, and health professionals are uncertain on how to raise the issue of weight and become hesitant. Hunt C wants us to remain in charge and responsive, and stay empathetically attuned to the child.
The course aims to increase people’s awareness about the challenges that families may face such as non-working families who don’t have a lot of money, or working families with not a lot of time. Hunt (2009) discusses two styles of parenting that could contribute to childhood obesity. The first is the indulgent style, somebody who gives their child whatever they want to appease them and make them happy, not caring about their long-term health. The other is a dictatorial style, making a child eat all their food disregarding whether they are full or not. The food readily available to us is high in calories, and with families such as the ones mentioned it is easy to see why they buy these foods. The article discusses an ‘obesogenic’ environment, which according to Hunt C involves the aggressive marketing campaigns for calorie dense foods, sedentary jobs, unsafe parks, traffic and dense roads, distorted portion sizes and lack of cooking skills as a few. The result according to the article is two thirds of adults, and one out of two children being overweight, with at least one in every thirteen deaths in the EU being weight related.
The article highlights that obesity can start from as early as pregnancy, with a test that was conducted by Julie Menella (2001), on whether our food preferences begin in the womb. Menalla recruited pregnant women and made one group drink carrot juice but not when breastfeeding, the second group she asked to drink carrot juice when breastfeeding but not when pregnant, and the third group to avoid carrot juice and carrots altogether. When the babies began weaning, Menalla fed them rice cereal mixed with carrot juice and found that the babies whose mothers had come into contact with carrots accepted the cereal, whereas group three, those who didn’t have any contact at all, did not. Hunt C believes this to be because in other species, animals that have come across a familiar food will believe it to be safe to eat, and unfamiliar tastes could mean it is poisonous.
Rapid weight gain and obesity in the early months of life are linked to the development of long-term obesity
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