Obesity is problem number one for American society. Fast food, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and other factors contribute to that phenomenon among the population. What is even more surprising now, it affects not only adults but children as well. During the last decades, this disease affected even children of elementary age ethics approach
According to data from the National and Nutrition Examination Survey, 12.5 million children and adolescents are obese in the U.S., a number that has almost tripled since 1980.
This impressive fact could not be ignored by sociologists who started researching the given issue to find out the causes and consequences of obesity for elementary age children. Some of them went further, trying to predict the impact it will have on society as a whole in the future. Childhood obesity is “one reason why scientists believe this generation of children could be the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
The purpose of the study is to determine far-reaching consequences of obesity among elementary age children. For that, one needs to realize what the main effects of obesity on elementary age children are, whether they are positive or negative, and how they affect the life of a child. Previous studies have already explored effects of obesity on elemenatry schoolchildren. Some of them concentrate on physical effects. These include disturbance of cognition function, motor skills, increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and orthopedic complications. Other works investigated psychological effects of obesity, such as social discrimination and low self-esteem, and depression. Some studies concentrated on the connection between obesity and academic performance in primary school. These showed that obese children tend to achieve lower math grades and attend school less frequently. They also tend toward less exercise and physical exertion and receive lower grades in English and sciences. Nevertheless, there is a lack of comprehensive studies of obesity effects in childhood.
Hence, the hypothesis of this study is that child obesity has far-reaching consequences for the adult life of an individual. It is the statement of causality. Child obesity is an independent variable while consequences for adult life are a dependent variable. To prove the validity of the hypothesis, the research took the form of a randomised survey performed by a group of sociologists and psychologists. Using the stratified random sampling technique, a random sample of obese children from 15 schools of New York were observed during the key points of their development. It ensured that the group of overweight children was represented proportionally in the sample. Initial pupil enrollment was in 1993 and continued for 20 years. Data collected included name, gender, weight, height, and body mass index (BMI) every 4 years (in elementary school, in high shool, in college (if any), and after graduating the college).The questionnaires for the participants included questions about their weight, eating habits, lifestyle, academic performance and health condition. These were filled in by the parents at the beginning and by the participants themselves later. Since participants of the sample filled in the questionnaires four times during the survey, which means investigating population over a certain period, this study was a longitudinal research.
The research showed that childhood obesity is strongly associated with adulthood obesity and the related adverse health effects. The survey reveals that obese children have a 25–50% chance of becoming obese adults. The majority of the participants remained obese after school (65%), though this index decreased slightly after college (50%). Those who remained obese in the adulthood reported multiple health issues, cronic diseases and low self-esteem. These resulted from underdevelopment of the lungs, heart and other muscles due to physical inactivity. Most of negative health effects manifested at an early age and influenced the whole life of the individual as the problems only aggravated with age. Obesity proved to pose a threat to student’s long-term college and career prospects too. Obese students reported low test scores (40%), and were less likely to go on to college (32%). This study provides cross-sectional evidence for a relationship between childhood obesity and health and social issues that an individual faces in adult life.
Inferential statistics approach helps to estimate the results of this study. Received data confirmed the initial hypothesis. and allowed predicting how these tendencies will affect the society in general. Based on the results of stratified random sampling, the information received is valid within this particular group. Consequently, this study can be used as an evidence of importance of the given problem. The research indicates that childhood obesity poses a threat to the health of the nation. Therefore, this problem should be presented to the broad audience and considered by the government. The report is intended for the broad audience and everyone who is interested in the solution of the given problem. Since the issue of child obesity is one of the most popular subjects in the media, there is a high level of familiarity with the subject within the society. This research can serve as extra material for dietologists, sociologists and psychologists.