Obesity in Children

Around 15 % of children worldwide have obesity. Increases in the number of obesity cases among children have been staggering. The article, “Can Medication Cure Obesity in Children? A Review of the Literature” by Luisa Mirano highlights the difficulty of treating obesity among children using long-term medications. From her analysis, she finds that the contributions of these forms of medication have negligible results, are expensive and their risk factor is overwhelming. The best and most effective way of combating obesity among children is prevention; by getting children involved in a healthy culture.

According to Milano, obesity has doubled among children and tripled among adolescents since the early 1980s. Currently, more than 9 million children are obese. The rise of obesity, therefore, continues to rise by the day. It is a concern for the society and for the health sector to solve. Meanwhile, the cure or vaccine for this predicament continues to elude the profession.

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In Australia, more than 20% of children can be classified as either obese or overweight. This could be a worldwide trend, and all professionals need to look at the issue critically and try to mend the issue. Obesity is usually best described using the body mass index (BMI). A high BMI could imply the possibility of obesity (McLennan 2004). Obesity has many problems associated to it. Topping on the list, is a risk of type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, depression, and exclusion (Ruxton 2004).

According to Ruxton (2004), the rate at which obesity is increasing is alarming in individual countries. 1990’s surveys showed that childhood obesity rose by 0.5% every year in Brazil and USA. Canada and Australia, on the other hand, had a rise of 1% per year (Ruxton 2004). The biggest problems will be seen in the future generations as current childhood obesity victims pass into adulthood. While obesity rises in some countries more than in others, there have not been cases of decline in prevalence.

According to Milano (2011), there have been tests of the use of medication on children. However, the results showed little difference to the cases. The children showed a decline in the weight when the medication was combined with intensive therapy and close observation in the short-term. However, in the long-term, the children were found to bounce back to their initial weights. According to her study, there lacked proof that the control of obesity could be done using medication.

Clinical management of obesity for children requires some time and a combination of health experts including a dietician, a psychologist, an exercise physiologist, and the physician. For adults, options for management include drug therapy and surgery. Both of these are not recommended for children except under strict supervision. Other methods include management of physical activity, and diet, psychotherapy and behavioral modification. However, none of these ways is guaranteed to work with children (Lobstein, Baur & Uauy 2004).

Strict diet control showed a higher change in the patients in the short-term than for those who had moderate diet management. This method has two underlying problems. First, it is not a sustainable system in the long-term. Second, the patients may not be able to get sufficient nutrient content under this method. Moderate diet control would therefore be advisable for the long-term (Lobstein, Baur & Uauy 2004).

Lobstein et. al (2004) discuss the results of tests of attempted clinical trials. The cases have resulted in a worrying trend of showing a weight drop in the first few months and followed by a rebound in the near future. This calls for further research in the area. It also means that resources will have to be redirected to research rather than medication hence hurting the societies it intends to serve. This has resulted in more obesity research centers than control and management centers.

According to Mirano (2011), medication was likely to cause side effects. These side effects included high blood pressure and pulse rate, abdominal discomfort, fecal incontinence, nausea, and oily spotting. One form of medication was associated with 19 deaths and withdrawal was recommended. With such results, it is notable that the medication is not a suitable method of obesity management. Medication increases the risk factor and may indeed speed up the effects of obesity.

Mirano notes that the medication is not the best approach for management of obesity for several reasons. First, medication has been associated with unpleasant side-effects, little information on continued use, and uncertainty of noteworthy weight loss. Second, the cost of medication is high and unmanageable by most obesity patients. These costs arise from medication and from paying the numerous health practitioners that go with the practice. Third, most tests have been performed with adolescents. This implies that the tests have not proved that medication can be relied upon for young children who are also at risk of getting the disease. Instead, Mirano recommends a change in the Western culture. Factors of culture that influence the rise of obesity include: an increase in the amount of activities, limited advertising of high calorie foods, education and reduced sedentary behaviors.

Other studies have shown similar results. Lobstein et. al (2004) note that since there has not been any significance evidence as to which method gives the best results, all methods should be employed. In their list, they propose: dietary modification, decreased sedentary activity, increased physical activity, change of behavior, and family involvement. It is, therefore, evident that these are the most favorable methods of managing obesity. Engaging children in a healthy lifestyle will help combat the predicament in the longrun.

While the author has researched well on the topic, she fails to mention the most viable method of obesity management. Prevention, it should be noted, is the only feasible solution to obesity. Since all meditational efforts are meant to control rather than cure obesity, it turns out that the costs are most likely to rise significantly for the society and the government to manage. While pharmaceutical systems may sometimes come in handy, the multi-disciplinary method is a better and less expensive method. All affected countries should effect this method of obesity control. Programs to avoid obesity may begin by identifying those children who are at the greatest danger. This way, the available resources, will be targeted to cases which require them most. Genetic studies also suggest that children whose parents have suffered from obesity are at higher risk of obesity. For this reason, such children should get involved in obesity prevention programs (Lobstein, Baur & Uauy 2004).

In conclusion, obesity has been associated with many other chronic diseases in the long-term. For this reason, it is recommended for governments, and society, to participate in programs intended for the management of obesity. Medication of obesity has been a key concern for many researchers. Those pharmaceutical methods that have been discovered have been found to be doubtful and not at all self sufficient. Traditional methods of obesity management, therefore, remain the best means to control obesity. The most viable method, however, would be to prevent the increase of obesity cases early. These cases should then be assisted and derailed from the path of poor health.

References

Lobstein, T., Baur, L., & Uauy, R. (2004). Obesity in children and young people: a crisis in public health. Obesity reviews, 5(s1), 4-85.

McLennan, J. (2004). Obesity in children. Australian family physician, 33(1/2), 33-36.

Ruxton, C. (2004). Obesity in children. Nursing Standard, 18(20), 47-52.

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