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Childhood obesity and Go4Fun health program

Discuss about the Childhood Obesity and Go4Fun Health Program.

In 21st century childhood obesity is the major public health concern. It is the growing concern for urban settings in the low and middle income countries. As reported by “World Health organisation” (WHO) in 2016, the children above five years with obesity comprise of 4.1 million (World Health Organization, 2018). Overweight and obese children are highly likely to stay overweight in adulthood and develop the non-communicable diseases as a consequence.  In Australia an estimated 20-25% of children are overweight. A quarter of them are observed to be obese. The number of children with obesity is even higher in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (Healthdirect.gov.au, 2018). In NSW one in five children of school age are considered overweight or obese (Daniel & Anagnostellis, 2018). Excess weight and obesity in childhood are recognised to be the major risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adulthood. It is also the risk factor for musculoskeletal conditions and cancer. The ability to manage the chronic conditions in adulthood decreases by the increasing weight in childhood. Childhood obesity is also associated with psychological health issues (Sahoo et al., 2015). It implies for the parents to set right example for their children during early life years.  The assignment deals with the healthy lifestyle program for kids named “Go4Fun” developed for NSW kids. The assignment discusses the need of the program, implementation and potential impact of the program and its effectiveness.

In NSW one in one in five children are overweight and are vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Childhood obesity is also associated with psychological health issues such as low self esteem and poor self identity. These children are susceptible to obesity in adulthood upto 20-25% (Aihw.gov.au, 2016).  Weight gain and obesity occurs with intake of high calorie diet and energy drinks.  This behaviour exceeds the energy expenditure from the metabolic process and the physical activity. The cause of the obesity among children attributes to mainly three factors. It includes diet, active travel and physical activity. Obese children are noted with physically inactive behaviours such as playing video games, watching television and poor knowledge of nutrition (Sahoo et al., 2015). This issue calls for immediate action and the rationale can be explained by the social learning theory proposed by Bandura.  According to this theory children and adults; earn from one another through observation, and modelling. It greatly influences the behaviours and cognitive aspects of people encompassing memory, attention and motivation (Cherry, 2011).  If the childhood obesity is not addressed, more children in long run would observe and learn sedentary activities from the obese children. It will eventually increase the burden of chronic diseases and health care cost. It means that the obesity not only has negative impact on children health but also on the entire nation (Sahoo et al., 2015). It demands the parents to take preventive actions to protect the children in early life years. It is because obesity involves the economic and social impact on families. However, parents are found to have poor awareness of food and nutrition and its role in child development (Park, Falconer, Viner & Kinra, 2012).  This calls for developing effective health promotion program for obese children and for supporting their parents. To address this issue, the Go4Fun health program was launched in 2011 for overweight children in NSW (Nsw.gov.au, 2018).

Potential impact of Go4Fun on health program

The program is implemented with short term and long term goals. The short term benefits of the program include improved eating habits, physical activity and decrease in sedentary behaviours and BMI. The long term benefits include increase in self esteem, improved concentration, and behaviours, sporting skills and fitness.  The children also are befitted by the improved teamwork and communication skills (Go4Fun, 2018).  It is evident that the program is so designed that it has potential for overall positive impact on the physical, social, emotional and psychological well being.  

The program has the potential to evoke positive health outcomes as it ensures the fundamental health resources and conditions needed for good health as mentioned by the Ottawa Charter of health promotion.  Three of the conditions met by the program include education, food and social justice and equity (Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, 2018).  Health promotion method identified in the Ottawa Charter contains five priority areas.  It includes building the health public policy, creating the supporting environment, strengthening the community actions, develop personal skills, and reorient health services and moving into the future.  The Go4Fun program for obese children has the potential to address four of these priority areas mentioned above. The program creates supportive environment, strengthen the community actions, develop personal skills and help people move into the future.

The health promotion program counteracts the pressure towards harmful factors such as bad nutrition, low self esteem and physical inactivity. This program helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, depression, and subsequent mortality by eating healthy food. In this way the program reduces the inequalities in the health produced by the practices of urban and upper class society. The program enables the parents to create supportive environment for the children and direct them towards healthy lifestyle. The program also fosters the self help and social support system thereby strengthening the community actions. Greater public participation leads to increase access of health information and learning opportunities for children.  It leads to greater collaboration with the primary health centres (Hardy et al., 2015).  Further, the program is also developing the personal skills. The Go4Fun program educates and prepares children in school setting, home and community settings to cope up with chronic illness and injuries. The parents and children may learn after school cooking skills, especially those from disadvantaged communities (Burrows, Lucas, Morgan, Bray & Collins 2015).   The parents participating in the health program are equal partners in every phase of health promotion together with children. Therefore, they can keep themselves healthy and their children. They can move into future where they will have less health complications. As parents and children are recognising their health, it acts as social investment. It helps them address overall ecological issues of living ways (Innes-hughes, Khanal, Lukeis & Rissel, 2016).

Implementation of the selected health promotion

 The program is free for overweight children aged 7-13 years and parents to participate.  It is the 10 week program on eating habits, fitness and confidence. The premiere priority of the program is to reduce the rate of overweight and obesity by 5% in children by 2025 (Nsw.gov.au, 2018).   

The program is initiated by the health professionals, who are qualified to give health and fitness training. The program is started after the school hours and runs parallel with the school terms. The qualified health professionals teach children about health eating habits through fun activities and games.   If the parents do not demonstrate the healthy lifestyle the children are less likely to have knowledge on healthy food choices and active lifestyle.  Therefore, the program supports the family members to adopt the healthy lifestyle.  The physical trainers help children in engaging in various physical activities for set amount of hours. Throughout this period the trainers bolster the self esteem of the children. Parents are inspired to join the health journey of their children. The program also considers the cultural factors to support the Aboriginal children.  This program was also known as Aboriginal Go4Fun (Nsw.gov.au, 2018).     

The program follows the principle of the Ottawa charter according to which the health promotion should enable the people to increase their control over health and improvement. According to Ottawa charter the three basic strategies of the health promotion program are advocate, enable and mediate.   It means that the health promotion program should advocate the people for health as it is an important dimension of quality of life. Health is the major resource for the economic, social, and personal development. According to Ottawa Charter, health promotion program should enable all people to achieve their health potential to their fullest. In this regard both men and women should be given equal opportunities to reduce difference in the current health status. Further, the health promotion program must involve coordinated action by the health, social, economic and government sector as well as media, voluntary organisations (Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, 2018). 

Go4Fun follows the three strategies mentioned in the Ottawa Charter and it is evident from the health advocacy to parents of overweight children to lead a healthy lifestyle.   With the help of these programs the children are advocated to get active each day for 60 minutes. It may include the vigorous activities that will make children huff and puff.  Parents and children are advocated to drink water to quench thirst over the flavoured and sweetened drinks. They are further advocated to consume more fruits and vegetables.  The participants of the program are   recommended to intake the 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegies each day and avoid eating the fat rich diets and high calorie food. They are supported and educated to choose healthier alternatives instead of eating snacks. Children are advocated to choose alternate instead of watching TV and playing video games (Go4fun.com.au, 2018). The program involves the health and social care sector as well as government bodies. Health professionals have major role to play here. It incorporates everyone irrespective of culture, ethnicity, gender, age and language. It also considers the ethical barriers for effective health promotion. The program is executed under the guidance of well trained health professionals (dieticians, and others) and sports personal. The organisations that operate for Go4Fun in accordance with the principles of the charter include local governments, community health services, some hospitals, and non-governmental organisations. In conclusion it follows the three strategies of health promotion by Ottawa charter. 

The program has been found to produce positive results. According to Go4Fun (2018) on average the children aged 7-13 in NSW demonstrated decrease in body mass index significantly, which is 0.6kg/m².  The children showed decrease in the sedentary activities.  The inactive hours spent per week by the children decreased by 3.4 hours.  A drop in waste circumferences was noted (17 cm) among these children after participating in the program. Children were found to participate in physical activities for more number of hours.  The duration of physical activities performed, increased by 3.8 hours per week. Children demonstrated a greater knowledge of food and nutrition. There was an overall increase in fitness and self esteem. These results clearly indicate the effectiveness of the program. It also indicates the adherence to the program guidelines and compliance among the overweight children and parents.

 The program has been observed to be successful as it involved people from all walks of life as members of families and communities. The program showed inclusion of all social and professional groups. Health professionals were responsible for mediating between differing interests in society for health pursuits. The program was successful as per Welsby et al. (2014) as it designed strategies that were tailored to the local needs. It did take into account different social, culture and economic systems. As per the randomised control trials, cohort studies, meta-analysis, positive lifestyle changes improve emotion regulation and psychological health of children (Olaiya, Soetan, & Esan, 2016). Fruits and vegetable consumption enhances immune system and disease fighting ability (Magrone & Jirillo, 2015).  This data indicates the success of the program. 

Conclusion

 The assignment discusses the health issue childhood obesity and the health promotion program developed by NSW called Go4Fun.  The obesity is the public health concern as it is unevenly distributed. It calls for treatment that is equitable.  This program however helps parents and children to lead healthy lifestyle. Children can learn to make healthy food choices throughout the lifestyle and learn the importance of physical activity. The program involves people from different sectors such as health, economic, and social sectors. Therefore, the target population receives valuable heath related information that can help prevent risk factors for chronic illnesses.  Go4Fun program has been successful in promoting the physical, social, emotional health of the children.  This has overall positive impact not only for the obese children and their family but also the entire nation. When working with Aboriginal communities and disadvantages classes of society, the program does consider the language, economic, social and cultural determinates to ensure success of the program. The program ensures the community strength as it enables inclusion of the policy makers, health practioners, and fitness trainers. Conclusively, the program has been effective in reducing  childhood obesity  rates through promotion of healthy lifestyles.

References

ABC News. (2018). Parents struggling to recognise childhood obesity under new 'norms': experts. ABC News. Retrieved 7 April 2018, from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-13/one-in-five-nsw-children-now-considered-obese-or-overweight/8523762

Aihw.gov.au. (2016). Overweight & obesity Overview - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Retrieved 7 April 2018, from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-statistics/behaviours-risk-factors/overweight-obesity/overview

Burrows, T. L., Lucas, H., Morgan, P. J., Bray, J., & Collins, C. E. (2015). Impact evaluation of an after-school cooking skills program in a disadvantaged community: back to basics. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 76(3), 126-132. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3148/cjdpr-2015-005

Cherry, K. (2011). Social learning theory: An overview of Bandura’s social learning theory. The New York Times Company.(online article). Retrived from: https://www.gilfuseducation.com/social-learning-theory-an-overview-of-banduras-social-learning-theory/

Daniel, S., & Anagnostellis, A. (2018). Parents struggling to recognise childhood obesity under new 'norms': experts. ABC News. Retrieved 7 April 2018, from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-13/one-in-five-nsw-children-now-considered-obese-or-overweight/8523762

Go4Fun. (2018). Go4Fun | Facts about childhood overweight and obesity. Go4fun.com.au. Retrieved 7 April 2018, from https://go4fun.com.au/why

Go4fun.com.au. (2018). Go4Fun | Free healthy lifestyle program for NSW kids aged 7-13. Go4fun.com.au. Retrieved 7 April 2018, from https://go4fun.com.au/

Hardy, L. L., Mihrshahi, S., Gale, J., Nguyen, B., Baur, L. A., & O’Hara, B. J. (2015). Translational research: are community-based child obesity treatment programs scalable?. BMC public health, 15(1), 652. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-2031-8

 Healthdirect.gov.au., (2018). Obesity in children. Retrieved 7 April 2018, from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/obesity-in-children

Innes-hughes, C., Khanal, S., Lukeis, S., & Rissel, C. (2016). Go4fun: An effective Australian community based obesity treatment program for children. Obesity Reviews, 17, 124.

Magrone, T., & Jirillo, E. (2015). Childhood obesity: immune response and nutritional approaches. Frontiers in immunology, 6, 76. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2015.00076

Nsw.gov.au. (2018). Fighting child obesity the Go4Fun way - News. Health.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 7 April 2018, from https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/news/Pages/20171103_00.aspx

Olaiya, C. O., Soetan, K. O., & Esan, A. M. (2016). The role of nutraceuticals, functional foods and value added food products in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. African Journal of food science, 10(10), 185-193. DOI: https://www.academicjournals.org/journal/AJFS/article-full-text-pdf/317EEBA59892

Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion.,(2018). Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 7 April 2018, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/servicesandsupport/ottawa-charter-for-health-promotion?viewAsPdf=true

Park, M. H., Falconer, C., Viner, R. A., & Kinra, S. (2012). The impact of childhood obesity on morbidity and mortality in adulthood: a systematic review. Obesity reviews, 13(11), 985-1000. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01015.x

Sahoo, K., Sahoo, B., Choudhury, A. K., Sofi, N. Y., Kumar, R., & Bhadoria, A. S. (2015). Childhood obesity: causes and consequences. Journal of family medicine and primary care, 4(2), 187. DOI: 0.4103/2249-4863.154628

Welsby, D., Nguyen, B., O’Hara, B. J., Innes-Hughes, C., Bauman, A., & Hardy, L. L. (2014). Process evaluation of an up-scaled community based child obesity treatment program: NSW Go4Fun®. BMC Public Health, 14(1), 140. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-140

World Health Organization., (2018). Childhood overweight and obesity. World Health Organization. Retrieved 7 April 2018, from https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/childhood/en/

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