“Obesity occurs in over one-third of adults age 20 or over (BMI > 30). More remarkable is the dramatic weight increase in America’s adolescent youth. According to the NHANES 1999-2000 data, 15% of children ages 6-11 are overweight.” (Sorenson, 2015) These numbers continue to increase in American due to lack of proper nutrition, education, and exercise. This visual picture demonstrates the future generations getting larger and larger due to the obesity epidemic in America. Children and youth are more likely to become obese in recent years and at earlier ages. Early obesity increases the likelihood of adult obesity, but it also increases risk for heart disease as an adult as well as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugars. (Pender, Murdaugh, & Parsons, 2015)
“Minneosta’s adult obesity rate is 30.1%, up from 28.4% the previous year (Perry, 2019). Minnesota is ranked 30th out of the 50 states for having the highest rates of obesity. “Just seven years ago, no state had an adult obesity rate above 35 percent. Now, nine states do.” (Perry, 2019) This alarming statistic shows that the U.S. population is continuing to get larger and more unhealthy and likely that future generations will have high obesity rates and more health-related problems. The prevalence of obesity in the U.S. was 42.4% in 2017-2018 (CDC, 2020).
There are a few health disparities I see in my community such as socioeconomic status. We have many people who fall in the lower or poverty socioeconomic status, which are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables and have a higher intake of fatty foods. Another health disparity is the ease of fast food while maintaining a busy work schedule and home life. Many more children today have both parents working outside the home as they did in previous decades which makes fast food a popular item for dinner. We do however, live in a community where fresh fruit and vegetables are readily available in the summer and early fall months, but in the winter and early spring, we do not have access to fresh farmers markets and rely on produce being shipped into markets, which then increases the cost of these items.
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Second Article :
In the picture above, childhood obesity is prevalent throughout America and has impacted the livelihood of these individuals. Obesity has led these individuals to feel like outcasts or become the center of many jokes. The obese child is being point at in a negative manner, therefore, has led to him putting his head down and potentially develop a wide range of emotions. Childhood obesity impacts the child’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being throughout the stages of development.
The state I currently live in is California. It is estimated that in California 15.6% of children between the ages of 10-17 have obesity (State Obesity Data, 2020). In comparison to the national average of obesity rates in America, California was below the percentage of those aged 10-17. Childhood obesity in America from ages of 6-11 is 18.4%, and from 12-19-year-old was 20.6% (Childhood Obesity Facts, 2019). From the given statistics, California, has a slightly lesser percentage in childhood obesity compared to the national average throughout America. As advanced practiced registered nurses (APRN), it is important to be conscious and knowledgeable about obesity within our own community.
Health disparities that are seen within the community of California by obesity are a wide variety of different issues. Health disparities that are experienced are an increase in heart disease, diabetes, and racial and ethnic disparities as well. Interventions are being implemented throughout California and other states through educating patients and families about healthy behaviors such as: consumption of fruits and vegetables, sugar sweetened beverages, screen time in relation to electronics, importance of sleep, and exercising everyday (Subica, 2018). These interventions are being utilized to further decrease the health disparities that are being experienced within California and the childhood obesity population. Racial disparities that are experienced by this vulnerable population is related to low-income communities that are often times unable to provide adequate and healthy food for their children (Subica, 2018). This is an obstacle childhood obesity patients have no control over, and it is important to bring awareness to these issues to ensure these patients are given an equal opportunity to receive the necessary nutrition needed to improve their lifestyle. Reducing Socio-economic inequalities in childhood obesity is an important goal because it will reduce long-term health consequences for these patients and improve their overall health status (Lockyer & Spiro, 2019). With these health disparities, childhood adversity, also plays a vital role within childhood obesity and how it cam impact their overall health. This type of adversity can be seen from parent substance abuse problems, parent separation or divorce, domestic violence, parent incarceration, living in poverty, and serious illness can impact a child’s healthcare journey (Kuhlman, Robles, Bower, & Carroll, 2018). These childhood adversities can serve as a enormous obstacle for the pediatric patient and can further lead to childhood obesity as eating can quickly become a coping mechanism for these patients. Therefore, as APRNs, it is important to identify this toxic situation or stress being experienced by the pediatric patient, in order to provide recommendations or necessary interventions needed to improve their quality of life.
APRN’s are in a key position to drive the need for change by advocating for this vulnerable population and provide them with the necessary resources needed to be successful in their healthcare journey. Solving childhood obesity is not an easy task, but it is important to bring awareness to the topic and offer educational resources for both parents and patients as it pertains to healthy eating. Improving the quality of life and reducing associated risk factors within childhood obesity, is the primary objective of the APRN and all healthcare providers.
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