A Collaborative Program to Prevent Obesity in African American Kids - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1822 Words
Date:  2022-05-12


Childhood obesity has been on the rise in the past decade reaching alarming levels in the American society. To be precise, this health problem is rampant in African American dominated societies characterized by low level of income for the household. As a result, this has posed a serious and urgent problem that needs severe concentration and awareness since it has increased the risks of maternal deaths, prolonged health complications from childhood until adulthood and finally death caused by obesity. Therefore, through the help of sustainable development goals established by the UN has assisted in the identification of prevention and controllable measures of this problem that faces the African American societies (Ogden, Carroll, Kit & Flegal, 2012).

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The prevalence of the infant and childhood obesity has been on the rise around the world. However, this work aims at analyzing the ways of helping children in the African American societies aged between two years to five live a healthy life by using collaborative programs. These programs aim at reducing and preventing obesity among African Americans who encounter low social and economic status in the societies. In addition, this study aims at analyzing the correlation between obesity and income levels of an African-American household based on the health belief model (HBM) and the trans-theoretical model. Obesity is a health condition characterized by an overweight of the body caused by excess accumulation of body fats to the point that they might be harmful to the body (Bagdure, Rewers et al., 2013).

Health Issue

According to Bagdure, Rewers, Campagna, and Sills,(2013) a child who is obese is one whose body mass index ranges from 25 to 30kg/m2 after dividing the raw body weight by the square of the child's height. Obesity affects a child's health, educational achievements and the quality of life. The research by Bagdure, Rewers et al., indicated that an obese child has a higher chance 90% remaining obese till adulthood and exposed to several chronic diseases like heart attack, failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, arterial complications and myocardial vascular complications that lead to a high number of deaths. According to American demographic statistics, the number one cause of death in the American societies were heart attacks and conditions related to heart complication claiming a percentage of 47 of total deaths in 2012 (Bagdure, Rewers et al., 2013).

Obesity only occurs when the amount of energy value taken is more than the required by the body, a situation referred to positive energy balance. Environmental and genetic combinations can cause obesity that might develop at age especially for the African American kids aged 2 to 5 years being the target. In boys, excess fats accumulate in the upper part of the abdomen while in girls they accumulate in the buttocks, heaps and thighs. Therefore, the site of fats accumulation in the body considered as a predominant aspect of obesity metabolic disorders (Ogden, Carroll, Kit & Flegal, 2012).

Some researchers report that energy imbalance intake and expenditure causes obesity in children. Increase in positive energy is associated with the kind of lifestyle, preferences of diet and the socioeconomic status among the African Americans (Ogden, Carroll, Kit & Flegal, 2012). There is an increasing indication that an individual's genetic background and composition is essential in the determination of their obesity risks. Ogden, Carroll, Kit, and Flegal (2012) made significant contributions to our comprehension of the factors that lead to obesity among children in America. They suggest that factors that contribute to the risk of children being obese include the dietary, physical activity sedentary behavioral factors. Genetics has been one of the major causes of obesity among children accounting for 25 to 40%. However, genetics is coupled with environmental factors and behavioral tendencies that the children are exposed to result to obesity among kids of 2 to 5 years of age.

Obesity is also result from intake of sugary foods, like beverages, snacks, amount of exercise and the amount of food intake among kids. Kids taking a significant amount of sodas, pizza and have less body exercise have a higher risk of being obese. This is because these foods are rich in energy and a continuous intake will lead to excess accumulation of energy in their body. Since they are kids and their respiratory quotient is low due to minimal body exercise, the positive body energy left in the body is transformed into fats and stored in the body tissues. As a result, this continuous activity of energy conversion into fats and its store result in kids being obese. This can only be reverted by exposing the kids to exercise of the body that is also minimal among the African American households (Seabra, Mendonca, Maia, Welk, Brustad, Fonseca & Seabra, 2013).

The foods took usually have too many carbohydrates and sugars that are converted into energy( fatty acids and Amino acids) in the liver that are then used by the body. The excess fats in the body are thus broken down through oxidation that releases metabolic water when the individual engages in exercise activities. However, this is not the case among children in African American dominated societies. There are too much accumulation and intake of foods rich in carbohydrate and sugars that are stored in the body if the body is not exercised. This biological pathway among the children is attached to the environmental factors like low socioeconomic background. In America, organic foods are costly, with a review to the labor market, 70% of African American household has an average income of 20000 annually (Seabra, Mendonca, Maia, Welk, Brustad, Fonseca & Seabra, 2013). As a result, obtaining organic foods that have a standard amount of sugar and carbohydrate, low chemical composition and preservative's is hard. These families, therefore, result to substitute foods that are relatively cheaper and affordable. These foods include snacks, beverages and other sugary foods due to their affordability and quantity.

According to Seabra et al., (2013), these families opt for fast foods due to their volume and price that satisfies their utility compared to organic foods that are expensive and little. Since children require foods for growth, they are exposed to such kind of foods that instead assist in body development destroy the body. Obesity has serious effects that include myocardial vascular complications and blockage that occur in arterial bursts, increased blood pressure, excess blood sugar that causes blood cancer, diabetes and finally death. These effects are long-term since children can grow with them until adulthood where they become choric.

Targeted Population

In this work, the primary targets for the research are the children aged 2 to 5 years old among African American households who suffer from obesity. African American household is characterized by high levels of poverty associated with an increased rate of marital stress that result in mental health issues, disability, low educational attainment and criminal activities. The increased number of divorce characterizes this demography. Seabra et al., (2013) reported that 70 % of African Americans had an annual income of $20000 compared to their white counterparts who had a salary of $55000. There has been a rise in single parenting in this kind of households with only 38% of African American children living with both parents. The cultural characteristics of this demographic contribute to the American literature, agricultural techniques, cuisine music, dressing code language and innovation of technology.


Among the African American children and the population at large, there has been an increasing rate of obesity resulting from the lifestyle adopted and socioeconomic status. Besides, the rise in obesity among African children results from the sociocultural factors like using food as a means of reward to children as a socializing component. The application of food as a reward among children has led to the rise of unhealthy food relationships thus increasing risks of children especially 2 to 5 years developing obesity. Obesity has become common among the African American households to the extent that the family supports it. Family dietary techniques have led to an increased number of obese children since family mealtimes determine the kind of meal the child will take. In addition, the sedentary or physical habits of the family will influence the child's activeness regarding exercise like playing. As a result, children will mimic the behavior they see in their household. Households with obese parents will have obese children and in most cases begins with children of ages between 2 and five years. Therefore According to Seabra et al., (2013), 75% of African American children aged 2 to 5 years are prone to obesity risks.

Proposed Program Approach

Since this menace encompasses a large population of African American children together with their household, the best program approach that will affect positively on this population is the adoption of a community-based program. With a community-based program, it can cover communities within a region making this approach flexible since the African American demography is scattered in various states in the United States of America. An efficient method that will effectively prevent obesity among children and adults in African American households is the adoption of a family-centered childhood obesity prevention. This approach enables the parents and children aged 2 to 5 years participate in Communities for a healthy living program (CHL). The CHL approach, according to Davison, Jurkowski, Kranz, and Lawson (2013) will mainly have caregivers and low-income earning parents thus the community-based program will aim at preventing obesity among kids and creating awareness for proper and health dietary to reduce the rate of obesity among the African American population.

Integration of Health Issues and Target Population

Cultural and social behaviors have served as a risk of obesity to the African American population in the US. Some of the cultural factors or characteristics leading to the occurrence of obesity include the use of food as a reward for kids, television watching and other electronic media, family and psychological factors of social behaviors. These factors have served as causatives to obesity among kids aged 2 to 5 years of age. However, these sociocultural causatives of obesity among kids in African American household have control mechanisms that help in preventing obesity among kids and adults. Some of these prevention mechanisms of include increase in family activity levels, reduction of portions taken, adoption of better rewarding mechanisms to kids, adoption of health media channels and other health electronic media and adoption of family mealtimes.

Activity level in a relevant factor linked to obesity among children. Exposing kids to a sedentary life reported to account for 2% prevalence of obesity among kids. Some of these activities include watching TV that has increased in the recent years Davison, Jurkowski, Kranz, and Lawson (2013). A report by Davison et al., (2013) showed an increase in the time spent by parents and kids in sedentary life that led to a significant decrease in time spent in physical activities. As a result, this causes an uptick in obesity among kids. This is due to limited exposure to physical activities. In addition, the report showed an increase in the level on obesity among kids aged five years compared to those who aged only two years old (Sahoo, Sahoo, Choudhury, Sofi, Kumar & Bhadoria, 2015).

According to Davison et al., (2013), there is a definite corr...

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A Collaborative Program to Prevent Obesity in African American Kids - Research Paper. (2022, May 12). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/a-collaborative-program-to-prevent-obesity-in-african-american-kids-research-paper

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