Pediatric Obesity and Parent-Child Involvement

Introduction

Childhood obesity could be one of the most prominent and pressing issues in modern-day pediatric health issues, affecting minors throughout the US. This complication affects “13.7 million children and adolescents,” creating the prerequisites for a nationwide problem that has implications for both physical and mental health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019; Gibson et al., 2017). While there may exist an extensive breadth of literature regarding pediatric obesity’s causes and effects, it is also vital to assess ways of countering it, as well as appraising the more effective treatment approaches. Thus, the following literature review attempts to demonstrate the current level of knowledge on childhood obesity treatments and, additionally, permits contextualizing the proposed research within the existing scientific tendencies.

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Analytical Summary and Synthesis

Assessing ways of treating overweight children could allow furthering the currently provided quality of care, as well as providing their guardians with appropriately outlined treatment expectations. Research shows that parent-child involvement as a single familial unit is cost-effective, which allows hypothesizing regarding the potential harbored by adult figures in a child’s life (Altman & Wilfley, 2015). However, Muthuri et al. (2016) argue that the effect of higher education levels relates to childhood obesity inversely. Thus, recognizing the role of parents in obesity treatment remains acute, particularly considering that mother-father involvement significantly betters any undertaken intervention practices (Ward et al., 2017). However, beyond recognizing parents’ importance, it is unclear which variable causes this effect. As an example, the study of Larsen et al. (2015) focuses on the effect of adult-imposed food policing and dietary practices, which, however, allows shedding light only on the manifestation of assumed nutrition-related intelligence. As such, parents’ education levels remain an essential but unaddressed factor that could provide an insight into different treatments’ effectivity.

The applicability of different care methods, particularly pharmaceutical treatment, becomes relevant when considering the connotations carried by the knowledgeability of both mothers and fathers regarding health practices. Professionals discourage “the use of any obesity medication unless the patient has failed a formal program of intensive lifestyle modification,” thus, making parents’ low grasp of health-related habits a potentially reliable indicator for prescribing medicine (Kaplowitz, 2017, p. 2). Furthermore, mothers and fathers with a lower health literacy show a decreased propensity to accepting different weight-loss strategies, possibly making pharmaceutical treatment a viable starting point for children’s treatment in sparsely educated families (Liechty, Saltzman, Musaad, & the STRONG Kids Team, 2015). Thus, considering the low results achieved by combined interventions into children’s health, prescribed medicine may become a cost-efficient treatment method in families with lower education levels (Ward et al., 2017). Therefore, recognizing the effect of parental education levels on their children’s sustainable weight loss may help highlight more effective treatment methods per the ramifications of varying factors.

Conclusion

While numerous studies tackle the effect of parental involvement on children’s weight-loss management, their education levels remain an unaddressed factor. Confirming or refuting the link between these two determinants could allow deciding on productive treatment pathways for different types of families, for example, pharmaceutical treatment for children with parents who maintain low education levels. The existing body of literature supports this query, highlighting the existence of a weak point in education-focused research within pediatric obesity analyses. Therefore, investigating the effect of parents’ education levels may be essential to formulating practical recommendations for childhood obesity treatments, considering the already existing implications of parental influences on children.

References

Altman, M., & Wilfley, D. E. (2015). Evidence update on the treatment of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44(4), 521-537. Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Childhood obesity facts. Web.

Gibson, L. Y., Allen, K. L., Davis, E., Blair, E., Zubrick, S. R., & Byrne, S. M. (2017). The psychosocial burden of childhood overweight and obesity: Evidence for persisting difficulties in boys and girls. European Journal of Pediatrics, 176(7), 925-933. Web.

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Kaplowitz, P. (2017). Is there a role for metformin in the treatment of childhood obesity? Pediatrics, 140(1), 1-2. Web.

Larsen, J. K., Hermans, R. C., Sleddens, E. F., Engels, R. C., Fisher, J. O., & Kremers, S. P. (2015). How parental dietary behavior and food parenting practices affect children’s dietary behavior. Interacting sources of influence? Appetite, 89, 246-257. Web.

Liechty, J. M., Saltzman, J. A., Musaad, S. M., & the STRONG Kids Team. (2015). Health literacy and parent attitudes about weight control for children. Appetite, 91, 200-208. Web.

Muthuri, S. K., Onywera, V. O., Tremblay, M. S., Broyles, S. T., Chaput, J. P., Fogelholm, M.,… ISCOLE Research Group. (2016). Relationships between parental education and overweight with childhood overweight and physical activity in 9-11 year old children: Results from a 12-country study. PloS One, 11(8), 1-14. Web.

Ward, D. S., Welker, E., Choate, A., Henderson, K. E., Lott, M., Tovar, A.,… Sallis, J. F. (2017). Strength of obesity prevention interventions in early care and education settings: A systematic review. Preventive Medicine, 95, 37-52. Web.

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