Childhood Obesity: Evidence based nursing research

Essay by nursebettyUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2010

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Running Head: Childhood Obesity � PAGE �1� Childhood Obesity � PAGE �12� Childhood Obesity � PAGE �13�

The prevalence of childhood obesity has more than tripled over the last three decades. In 1980 the rate of obesity among U. S. children aged 6-11 was 6.5% however, according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2010), in 2008 that number soared to 19.6%. Obesity rate for teens 12-19 years of age also saw a substantial increased, from 5% to 18.1% (National Center, 2010). Although there is no concise definition for childhood obesity the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that a child with a BMI of 85% to less than 95% is considered overweight and "those children with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than the 95th percentile are considered obese" (AAP, n.d.). The Body Mass Index was invented by Adolph Quelet in the mid 1800s and while it is not a direct measure of body fat percentages, it does "correspond to direct measures of body fat", such as underwater weighing, bioelectrical impedance, and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (CDC, 2009).

BMI is the ratio of height in meters squared to weight in kilograms. It is important to note that BMI calculations are specific to age and gender and children should not calculated using adult ranges (Philippas & Clifford, 2005). Additionally, BMI does not reflect muscle mass, which is why it should be use in conjunction with clinical judgement "in the assessment of children who have high physical activity levels and increased muscular development" (Philippas & Clifford, 2005). However, it is well documented that children with BMI measurements above 85% are at an increased risk comorbidity factors as well as increased risk of becoming an obese adult.

Research conducted by Freedman et al. (2005) states that predicted...