Childhood Obesity and Barriers to Physical Activity

The problem of childhood obesity remains one of the central concerns of the modern healthcare sector. The existing theoretical framework concerning this problem considers it a primary cause for the development of multiple complications and deterioration of childrens quality of lives. At the same time, the efficiency of pharmacological treatment is doubted because of numerous benefits associated with changes in the mode of life and diet (Karp & Gesell, 2015). That is why there are multiple attempts to elaborate a theoretical approach towards the implementation of different kinds of activity and educational programs to ensure improved outcomes.

Karp and Gesell (2015) state that there are about 12.7 million children who suffer from obesity. For this reason, numerous long-term complications can be excepted. At the same time, the existing approaches guarantee only short-term success and do not contribute to the significant improvement of the statistics (Karp & Gesell, 2015). For this reason, changes to address childhood obesity are critical to the final result. Karp and Gesell (2015) suggest the radical alteration of the existing health policy aimed at the reconsideration of schools functioning as children spend a significant part of their time there. According to the researchers, school and after-school activities might help to shift priorities towards healthy lifestyles.

However, there are several aspects that limit opportunities for childrens engagement in physical activities. Coleman and Dyment (2013) state that despite educators attempts to teach children about the significance of physical activity, child care policies and practices related to safety during outdoor activities might reduce their abilities to facilitate the more structured physical activity. For this reason, the deployed educational methods are characterized by the decreased ability to impact obesity and work with it (Coleman & Dyment, 2013). It also means that it is critical to reconsider the existing approach to the organization of after-school activities to attain better results.

Nabors, Burbage, Woodson, and Swoboda (2015) are also sure that the implementation of programs aimed at the improved physical activity patterns is the best possible solution to the problem of obesity. Having investigated results of 2 pilot programs in different after-school projects for children, they come to the conclusion that involved children learned much about healthy eating and physical exercises (Nabors et al., 2015). At the same time, investigators admit an important role parents play in the overall success of these programs. The fact is that their agreement is fundamental to the introduction of more active games and cultivation of new behaviors.

The essential role of parents is also admitted by Braden, Strong, and Crow (2014) who are sure that their agreement to engage in the process is one of the success factors. They state that family-based treatment demonstrates more efficiency if to compare with traditional methods (Braden, Strong, & Crow, 2014). For this reason, the reconsideration of childrens activity patterns should be supported by their parents engagement in new programs aimed at the increased number of after-school activities and games.

Altogether, the comprehensive scholarly literature is supportive of the significance of after-school activities and their positive impact on childrens health. At the same time, researchers state that deployed educational practices might limit specialists in their abilities to increase activity levels because of safety concerns. For this reason, the radical reconsideration of existing policies is one of the most efficient solutions to introduce new after-school activities and educational patterns aimed at the enhanced understanding of the primary causes of obesity and ways to struggle against it.


Braden, A., Strong, D., & Crow, S. (2014). Parent changes in diet, physical activity, and behavior in family-based treatment for childhood obesity. Clinical Pediatrics, 54(5), 494-497.

Coleman, B., & Dyment, J. (2013). Factors that limit and enable preschool-aged children’s physical activity on child care centre playgrounds. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 11(3), 203-221.

Karp, S. M., & Gesell, S. B. (2015). Obesity prevention and treatment in school-aged children, adolescents, and young adults. Primary Prevention Insights, 5(1), 1-4.

Nabors, L., Burbage, M., Woodson, K. D., & Swoboda, C. (2015). Implementation of an after-school obesity prevention program: Helping young children toward improved health. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 38(1), 22-38.