Literature Review: Childhood Obesity

Literature Review: Childhood Obesity

The prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States has increased at such a rapid rate that this has been considered a serious healthcare issue. This issue has attracted the attention of policy makers, government agencies, and the community. Due to the extent of the problem, a large number of researchers have investigated a number of factors relating to childhood obesity. One of the factors that have been investigated is the impact of changing the attitudes of the patients towards obesity and lifestyle factors that cause a risk factor. In this study, the main factor being investigated is the impact of education on exercise and diet on patients who have a BMI of more than 30. The following is a summary of a review of the literature used to determine the impact of educating patients on exercise and diet changes. Literature Review: Childhood Obesity

Comparison of Research Questions

Most of the literature analyzed for this study focuses on the intervention strategies for childhood obesity. Cheung et al. seeks to understand the extent of the childhood obesity in America. The research asks about the incidence of childhood obesity in America in a bid to demonstrate the extent of the problem.

Ickes et al. (2014) research question compares the intervention strategies used in the American schools and international ones. The main aim of this study is to determine the gaps in the intervention used in American schools that has caused the increased childhood obesity. On the other hand, Reilly (2006) research investigates the interventions strategies for childhood obesity in United States schools that have been applied overtime. The research question for this study is to investigate the effectiveness of each of the strategies that have been applied. Literature Review: Childhood Obesity

McGrath (2017) directly investigates the effectiveness of having an obesity education awareness program for the families of children suffering from childhood obesity. The research asks whether educating patients and family on the importance of maintaining ideal weight and providing awareness on obesity can help reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. Ross et al. (2010) investigates the recommended interventions for childhood obesity. The research question for this study seeks to understand some of the most effective interventions strategies to help reduce obesity among children in the United States.

On the other hand, Vine et al. (2013) seeks to understand the role that primary care providers can play in improving the issue of childhood obesity. The research asks whether primary care providers have the capability to make a positive difference through patient education to help reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. Taveras et al. (2014) compares the effectiveness of various interventions for childhood obesity. The question for this study is whether various interventions applied in primary care have the same impact on the reduction of childhood obesity. Lastly, Janicke et al. (2014) investigates the effectiveness of family lifestyle interventions in the reduction of obesity. The question of this study asks whether changing lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise can help to reduce obesity in children. Literature Review: Childhood Obesity


Comparison of Sample Populations

All the researches that have been included in this study were meta-analyses or reviews of literature except Taveras et al. (2015) which included a randomized control trial. This study included a sample of 649 children between 6 and 12 years. The other studies were analyses of other researches that have been done in the past on obesity. Janicke et al. (2014) analysed 20 studies whose sample sizes amount to 1,671 participants. On the other hand, Ross et al. (2010) performed a review of 73 studies. The research does not indicate the number of participants represented by the analyzed studies. McGrath (2017) conducted a literature analysis of 7 articles. There is a variation between the sample sizes of the analyzed articles ranging from 12 participants to 9000 participants. Ickes et al. (2014) conducted a systematic analysis including 12 studies whose samples sizes range between 10 and 20 participants. In general the studies that have been included in this research have generally small sample sizes. Most of the studies are literature reviews with a very low number of studies included in the analysis. None of these studies is longitudinal in nature and the samples are very small. Therefore, there is a high chance that the studies are limited in terms of the choice of methods. The following is an analysis of the limitations of each of the studies. Literature Review: Childhood Obesity

Comparison of the Limitations of the Studies

The limitations of the studies included in this research are mainly in the choice of methodology, specifically the samples and analysis methods used by the respective researchers. The main limitation of Ickes et al. is that the review of research was done in a narrative format. The study fails to utilize quantitative methods to enhance the accuracy of the results. Qualitative data analysis has a significant risk of inaccuracy. The study by McGrath (2017) is limited by the very small sample size. The review analyses less than 10 studies, which makes the chances of inaccuracy to be very high. Additionally, the author has used only qualitative techniques of data analysis, thus, increasing chances of inaccuracy. On the other hand, Cheung et al. (2016) is limited by the use of convenience data. The studies used in this study were not primarily meant to study the research question of the researcher. Therefore, there is a high chance of inaccuracy in the results collected. Reilly (2006) fails to clearly define the methodology used by the researcher. Therefore, it is hard to ascertain the true strengths and limitations of the study. Ross et al. (2013) is also limited by inconsistencies in the research methodology. The study included research from more than 100 studies but there are some studies that were not specific to the research question. The researchers made the closest connection to determine the results of the study. In general, these studies have a significant chance of inaccuracy and lack of reliability because of the limitations of the methodologies employed by the researchers. Literature Review: Childhood Obesity


In conclusion, the studies that have been analyzed for this research demonstrate consistent results with regards to the effective intervention strategies for childhood obesity. From the studies it is clear that childhood obesity is an extensive problem in the United States. The best interventions to this problem include changes in the family lifestyle of the families. Lifestyle changes include the increase of physical activity and the change of the diets. Intervention within the primary care setting has also been found to be an effective form of intervention for childhood obesity. The primary care professionals can help parents to reduce the extent of obesity in the American children by implementing education strategies. These studies confirm the hypothesis that education on lifestyles changes to the patients and their families can help to reduce the incidence of childhood obesity in the United States. Therefore, they can be used to confirm the PICOT statement of this study which argues that “Patients, who suffer from obesity (BMI of more than 30) undertaking nutritional education, diet and exercise in comparison to not taking nutritional education, diet, and exercise, can have improved health outcomes in terms of overall weight loss in a year’s time limit”.


Cheung, P. C., Cunningham, S. A., Narayan, K. V., & Kramer, M. R. (2016). Childhood obesity incidence in the United States: a systematic review. Childhood Obesity12(1), 1-11.

Ickes, M. J., McMullen, J., Haider, T., & Sharma, M. (2014). Global school-based childhood obesity interventions: a review. International journal of environmental research and public health11(9), 8940-8961.

Janicke, D. M., Steele, R. G., Gayes, L. A., Lim, C. S., Clifford, L. M., Schneider, E. M., … & Westen, S. (2014). Systematic review and meta-analysis of comprehensive behavioral family lifestyle interventions addressing pediatric obesity. Journal of pediatric psychology39(8), 809-825. Literature Review: Childhood Obesity

McGrath, S. M. (2017). Childhood Obesity Comorbitities Awareness Hospital-based Education (Doctoral Dissertation), Walden University, Minneapolis, Washington.

Reilly, J. J. (2006). Obesity in childhood and adolescence: evidence based clinical and public health perspectives. Postgraduate medical journal82(969), 429-437.

Ross, M. M., Kolbash, S., Cohen, G. M., & Skelton, J. A. (2010). Multidisciplinary treatment of pediatric obesity: nutrition evaluation and management. Nutrition in Clinical Practice25(4), 327-334.

Taveras, E. M., Marshall, R., Kleinman, K. P., Gillman, M. W., Hacker, K., Horan, C. M., … & Simon, S. R. (2015). Comparative effectiveness of childhood obesity interventions in pediatric primary care: a cluster-randomized clinical trial. JAMA pediatrics169(6), 535-542.

Vine, M., Hargreaves, M. B., Briefel, R. R., & Orfield, C. (2013). Expanding the role of primary care in the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity: a review of clinic-and community-based recommendations and interventions. Journal of obesity2013 Literature Review: Childhood Obesity

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