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Childhood Obesity: A Global Public Health Crisis

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      Introduction:Childhood obesity is a major public health crisis nationally and internationally. The prevalence of childhood obesity has increased over few years. It is caused by imbalance between calorie intake and calories utilized. One or more factors (genetic, behavioral, and environmental) cause obesity in children. Physical, psychological, and social health problems are caused due to childhood obesity. Hence, effective intervention strategies are being used to prevent and control obesity in children. The purpose of this manuscript is to address various factors influencing childhood obesity, a variety of interventions and governmental actions addressing obesity and the challenges ahead for managing this epidemic.Methods:In order to collect materials for this review a detailed search of CINAHL, MEDLINE, ERIC, Academic Search Premier databases was carried out for the time period 1999-2011.Results:Some of the interventions used were family based, school based, community based, play based, and hospital based. The effective school-based interventions were seen targeting physical activity along with healthy diet education. The major challenges faced by these intervention programs are financial, along with stigmatization of obese children. Governments along with other health care organizations are taking effective actions like policy changing and environmentally safe interventions for children to improve physical activity.Conclusions:In conclusion, childhood obesity can be tackled at the population level by education, prevention and sustainable interventions related to healthy nutrition practices and physical activity promotion.

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      The prevention of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents: a review of interventions and programmes.

       J Seidell,  C Renders,  C Doak (2006)
      Overweight and obesity are serious, large-scale, global, public health concerns requiring population-based childhood overweight and obesity prevention. The overall objective of this review is to identify aspects of successful childhood overweight prevention programmes. This objective will be met by assessing existing interventions quantitatively as well as qualitatively, identifying efficacy, effectiveness and implementation, and evaluating potential adverse effects of previous studies. This review was limited to school-based studies with a quantitative evaluation using anthropometric outcomes and that intervene on diet or activity-related behaviours. Quantitative and qualitative approaches are used to identify factors related to successful interventions as well as adverse consequences. Sixty-eight per cent of the interventions, or 17 of the 25, were 'effective' based on a statistically significant reduction in body mass index (BMI) or skin-folds for the intervention group. Four interventions were effective by BMI as well as skin-fold measures. Of these, two targeted reductions in television viewing. The remaining two studies targeted direct physical activity intervention through the physical education programme combined with nutrition education. Of the interventions reported here, one was effective in reducing childhood overweight but was also associated with an increase in underweight prevalence. Few other studies reported outcomes for underweight. The majority of overweight/obesity prevention programmes included in this review were effective. Physical education in schools and reducing television viewing are two examples of interventions that have been successful. Because few studies report on underweight prevalence, this review recommends giving more attention to preventing adverse outcomes by reporting the intervention impact on the frequency distribution for both BMI and adiposity measures.
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        Childhood obesity and overweight prevalence trends in England: evidence for growing socio-economic disparities

        Objective Previous data indicate a rapidly increasing prevalence of obesity and overweight among English children and an emerging socioeconomic gradient in prevalence. The main aim of this study was to update prevalence trends among school-age children and assess the changing socioeconomic gradient. Design A series of nationally representative household-based health surveys conducted between 1997 and 2007 in England. Subjects 15,271 white children (7880 boys) aged 5 to 10 years with measured height and weight. Measurements Height and weight were directly measured by trained fieldworkers. Overweight (including obesity) and obesity prevalence were calculated using the international body mass index cut-offs. Socioeconomic position (SEP) score was a composite score based on income and social class. Multiple linear regression assessed the prevalence odds with time point (1997/8, 2000/1, 2002/3, 2004/5, 2006/7) as the main exposure. Linear interaction terms of time by SEP were also tested for. Results There are signs that the overweight and obesity trend has levelled off from 2002/3 to 2006/7. The odds ratio (OR) for overweight in 2006/7 compared to 2002/3 was 0.99 (95% CI 0.88 to 1.11) and for obesity OR = 1.06 (0.86 to 1.29). The socioeconomic gradient has increased in recent years, particularly 2006/7. Compared to 1997/8, the 2006/7 age and sex-adjusted OR for overweight was 1.88 (1.52 to 2.33) in low SEP, 1.25 (1.04 to 1.50) in middle SEP, and 1.13 (0.86 to 1.48) in high SEP children. Conclusion Childhood obesity and overweight prevalence among school-age children in England has stabilised in recent years, but children from lower socio-economic strata have not benefited from this trend. There is an urgent need to reduce socio-economic disparities in childhood overweight and obesity.
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          Contributions of built environment to childhood obesity.

          As childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, it is critical to devise interventions that target the root causes of obesity and its risk factors. The two main components of childhood obesity are physical inactivity and improper nutrition, and it is becoming increasingly evident that the built environment can determine the level of exposure to these risk factors. Through a multidisciplinary literature review, we investigated the association between various built environment attributes and childhood obesity. We found that neighborhood features such as walkability/bikeability, mixed land use, accessible destinations, and transit increase resident physical activity; also that access to high-caloric foods and convenience stores increases risk of overweight and obesity, whereas the presence of neighborhood supermarkets and farmers' markets is associated with lower childhood body mass index and overweight status. It is evident that a child's built environment impacts his access to nutritious foods and physical activity. In order for children, as well as adults, to prevent onset of overweight or obesity, they need safe places to be active and local markets that offer affordable, healthy food options. Interventions that are designed to provide safe, walkable neighborhoods with access to necessary destinations will be effective in combating the epidemic of obesity. © 2011 Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

            Author and article information

            Masters of Public Health Program, American Public University, East Stroudsburg, PA, USA
            [1 ]Department of Health Studies, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, East Stroudsburg, PA, USA
            Author notes
            Correspondence to: Ass. Prof. Amar Kanekar, Department of Health Studies, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, East Stroudsburg, PA, USA. E-mail: akanekar@
            Int J Prev Med
            International Journal of Preventive Medicine
            Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd (India )
            January 2012
            : 3
            : 1
            : 1-7
            Copyright: © International Journal of Preventive Medicine

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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