The Problem of Pediatric Obesity

Introduction

Pediatric obesity is a crucial public health problem in the United States and internationally due to severe complications of the condition (Kumar & Kelly, 2017). As the number of children affected by obesity is growing, healthcare providers need to search for new methods of treating and preventing the condition (Xu & Xue, 2015). The objectives of the present paper are to provide an overview of pediatric obesity and acquire an understanding of nurse education helps to address the condition.

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Definition

Obesity is defined in correlation with body mass index (BMI) and includes several levels of severity. Children with BMI between 25 and 30 are described as overweight, while the index between 30 and 40 is accounted for obesity (World Health Organization [WHO], n.d.). There are three classes of obesity: class I obesity is diagnosed in patients with BMI between 30 and 34.9, class II – with BMI between 35 and 39.9, and class III with BMI over 40 (WHO, n.d.).

Epidemiology

Obesity is a severe problem that affects many children in the United States and other developed countries. According to Hales, Carroll, Fryar, and Ogden (2017), in 2016 about 13.7 million children and adolescents in the US were diagnosed with obesity in different classes. The prevalence of the condition in the US among children aged 2 and 19 was 18.5% varying in rate for certain populations (Hales et al., 2017). Patients develop the condition due to unhealthy eating habits, genetics, environment, metabolism, and lifestyle lacking physical activity (Kumar & Kelly, 2017).

Clinical Presentation

Clinical presentation of obesity is usually straightforward with patients indicating weight problems due to excess fat (Kumar & Kelly, 2017).

Complications

Obesity in childhood is dangerous due to the possible complications that can provoke physical and mental disorders. Increased BMI is usually associated with higher risks of cardiovascular diseases and musculoskeletal disorders (Kumar, S., & Kelly). Pediatric obesity predisposes individuals to type 2 diabetes, liver and kidney diseases, and reproductive dysfunction (Xu & Xue, 2015). Patients can also develop depression, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and shakiness due to lifestyle changes provoked by obesity (Xu & Xue, 2015). In short, the complications of obesity can be more dangerous than the condition, as it can lead to irreversible changes in a child’s development.

Diagnosis

Because of the unambiguous nature of the condition, the diagnosis of obesity is not difficult. The only problem in diagnosis may be distinguishing between obesity and severe obesity. The diagnosis of the disease is based on physical examination, BMI calculation, and a person’s history. The health risk increases with every additional point in BMI after 25. In brief, the diagnosis of the condition is straightforward and does not require any specialized tests or procedures.

Conclusion with PICOT Question

In conclusion, childhood obesity is a major health concern that should be addressed at all levels, starting from international associations going down to local interventions. However, the primary objectives of the programs are not clear, as they may or may not include education on the matter. Therefore, the PICOT question is as follows: “In school-aged children younger than 15 (P), does a school-based exercise program, healthy diet, family health nurse education 3 times a week, and monitoring sessions for children and parents (I) compared with exercise program in school and healthy diet alone (C) affect BMI measures by reducing it and decrease weight (O) at the end of the school year (T)?”

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References

Hales, C., Carroll, M., Fryar, C., & Ogden, C. (2017). Prevalence of obesity among adults and youth: the United States, 2015–2016. Web.

Kumar, S., & Kelly, A. (2017). Review of Childhood Obesity. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 92(2), 251-265. Web.

World Health Organization. (n.d.). What are overweight and obesity? Web.

Xu, S., & Xue, Y. (2015). Pediatric obesity: Causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 11(1), 15-20. Web.

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