The health of children in communities has always been used as markers of health for the entire group of people. My community is ailing in that health complications related to excessive weight gain and obesity among children has been a challenge for decades. This has further affected children’s life outcomes later on in their adulthood ages. Obesity contributes to various health complications that interferes with quality life through the developmental stages.
Childhood Obesity as a Community Challenge
Overweight and obesity cases among the children population is proving to be more than a challenge not only for individual families, communities, or nations, but has developed into a global challenge of public health interest. As a matter of concern, Weihrauch-Blüher and Wiegand, (2018) report that childhood obesity is a pre-determinant of adulthood disease complications. Globally, it is reported that about thirty-eight million children under the age of five years suffer from the effects of overweight and obesity, as of the year 2019 (Weihrauch-Blüher & Wiegand, 2018). Not far from these statistics, among children in my community, childhood obesity affects approximately two in three children of school-going age and about one in three children under the age of five years. These numbers are extremely worrying and as such, inform the need for proper mechanisms to reverse the problem.
Gordons Functional Health Patterns in Community Health Risk Assessment
The prevalence and incidence of obesity and overweight cases in my community could be linked to several risk factors. In my community, most families are wealthy and industrious, therefore the use of automobiles, even for short distances is prominent. Besides, most people do not engage in adequate physical activity and exercise, and this includes even children. According to Edelman et al. (2017), Gordon’s functional health patterns framework considers several ways of assessing community risk factors. Some of these factors include assessing the health perception and management patterns, nutrition-metabolic factors, and activity-exercise patterns amongst many others. In this regard, Gordon’s functional health patterns assume a holistic approach in identifying factors of assessing the population’s health risks by considering the biological, developmental, cultural, social, and spiritual factors (Edelman et al., 2017).
By using the Gordon functional health patterns framework in childhood obesity management, the health risks in the community will be assessed based on the nutrition-metabolic factors and activity-exercise factors of children in the community. The two approaches in Gordon’s framework are useful because obesity has been largely associated with poor nutritional practices and sedentary lifestyles and behaviors (Karki et al., 2019). Among children in my community, the consumption of energy-dense foods and the prevalence of physical inactivity has led to increased risks of obesity among the children. In most instances, the children are driven to school, and over the weekends and holidays, they spend more time glued to the television screens.
There are some beneficial resources in the community that can help address the problem. First, the community has lots of playing grounds, nature parks, and forested zones where physical activity is easy to achieve. There is a gym section which is coupled with a swimming pool with a children’s section. Swimming is an aspect of physical activity which could help reverse the effects of obesity among children. The community has a well-staffed community hospital, including the professional services of qualified nurses, dietitians, and counselors. Healthcare professionals are better placed to offer Dietary advice and counseling on healthy dietary choices.
Community Strengths and Concerns
There are some strengths and concerns in my community which pronounces, as well as can address the problem of overweight and obesity. The strengths include the fact that Nutrition education in schools is acceptable, the community has a hospital with a good pediatrics unit, and the community is equipped with sports facilities and community parks for exercise. These are potential strengths that the community can utilize to address the challenges of obesity among children. However, some concerns could potentially limit efforts at reversing the challenge of obesity among children. This is because, among most of the obesity cases, children have limited time to exercise, especially in school seasons. There are inherent lifestyle practices in households where the children come from which limits better health outcomes. Some of the children also have a low interest in physical activity, which is made hard by inadequate family support for better lifestyle and health practices.
Working with a group of organized people, several views, ideas, and opinions will most times be presented in favor of, or against an idea. According to Karki et al. (2019), childhood obesity is a challenge to people of all ages but is known to be highly prevalent in communities with high economic capabilities and which are in urban areas. Karki et al. (2019), further note that technological influences and poor dietary behaviors contribute immensely to childhood obesity. In my community, most families from which the children belong are wealthy and busy to attend to the children. Most children are used to bus rides to and from school whereas the school system has not mandated exercise in their programs. These challenges can be addressed by initiating a health awareness campaign in schools, through the media, and through athletic and sports events. Knowledge on better dietary practices can be disseminated through school lessons as well as through community outreaches. Parents could be sensitized to prioritize and spend more time with children by doing physically engaging activities most often.
Edelman, C. L., Mandle, C. L., & Kudzma, E. C. (2017). Health promotion throughout the life span [eBook edition]. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Karki, A., Shrestha, A., & Subedi, N. (2019). Prevalence and associated factors of childhood overweight/obesity among primary school children in urban Nepal. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 1-12. Web.
Weihrauch-Blüher, S., & Wiegand, S. (2018). Risk factors and implications of childhood obesity. Current Obesity Reports, 7(4), 254-259.