Western Governors University















Evidence-Based Practice on Childhood Obesity

Melanie Mejia

Western Governors University








Evidence-Based Practice on Childhood Obesity


a. Health problem

Childhood obesity is a condition affecting children as a result of excess weight that hinders them from engaging in normal life activities. Childhood obesity has become a major health challenge that affects children across the globe. The World Health Organization have declared obesity an global epidemic that needs to be addressed after medical research that proved over 5 million children below five years are obese Gaffney et al., (2014). A 2012 WHO report claimed that the childhood obesity trend is changing whereby it is a condition that is affecting even developing countries unlike before when it was predominant in developed countries.

As a result of the condition, many children are subject to live a life that they should not live as children. The reason is that obesity restrains children from engaging in massive physical exercises that they should play including playing (Gaffney, et al., (2014). It is sad to see that the health condition is also hindering the rate of children growth, for instance, obese children take a longer time to learn how to walk or even feed themselves as different body organs are not responding the way they should. The condition has made children from as early as one years old to start developing other comorbidities that by significant margins are lowering life expectancy, a situation that is calling for massive resolution strategies to save the life of children.

b. The significance of the problem

Childhood obesity is a preventable condition that is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. For instance, children were fed on unhealthy junk foods which possess excess oil, wheat, and artificial sugar. Also, children suffering from obesity lack proper engagement in activities that help burn calories and the excess fat and sugars are converted into fat and stored in the body leading to weight increment. The absurd reality is that obesity is a major life-threatening condition that promotes the development of many other chronic diseases. According to the WHO, obesity by itself has not been said to cause death, but it creates a positive environment that makes other health conditions that causes death in children to develop and become hard to control.

For instance, obese children become vulnerable to ailments like diabetes, coronary heart diseases, respiratory diseases, stroke, and cancer among many others. The latter is in the sense that childhood obesity weakens body organs to the extent that it does not produce enough antibodies that strengthen the immune system. The reason is that the food consumed leading to the development of obesity does not have the right nutrients that boost immune system development. The child despite appearing healthy and fat from the outside is frail internally and becomes exposed to different health conditions. Because of childhood obesity, the rate of childhood mortality has increased as well as the number of children suffering from chronic ailments.

c. Current practice

Adopting a healthier lifestyle is the best current practice that can help address the childhood obesity health problem. It is a practice that entails parents feeding children with natural organic foods and green juices instead of packed and fast foods. It also entails making sure that children eat fruits so that their bodies can have a well-balanced nutrients supply which helps in making the body strong and also avoid instances of having fat in the body. It is also a practice that requires children to be involved in physical exercises in efforts to promote the healthy operation of body organs like the heart.

d. Impact on background

Childhood obesity negatively impacts the life of a child. The reason is that the child is restrained from engaging in activities that he/she would love to do. Activities or games that require extensive body activity prevents an obese child from performing to their full potential due to excess body weight placing limitations in which the child cannot bend, walk, jump, or even run. This means that obesity prevents even the most talented children from engaging in activities they find interesting. Obesity also predisposes children to constant ailments due to a weak immune system, poses a child to develop at a slower pace, including the mind development which determines the levels of intelligence that the child would have. Childhood obesity also affects the social life of a child because an obese child finds fun while indoors watching television or playing video games and hence interpersonal and social skills are not developed.


(patient/problem) Overweight children
(intervention/indicator) Adopting a healthy feeding
(comparison) Physical exercises
(outcome) Recommendable body weight


Pico Question:

Can childhood obesity be entirely reduced as a result of engaging in physical exercises or adopting a healthy feeding is the overall effective strategy?


C1. Keywords

Childhood obesity, overweight-related behaviors, parenting, body weight, prevention, intervention, lifestyle, physical exercises, parenting, obesity triggered ailments

C2. Number and types of articles

During research, articles to be used were sought over 5000 articles that were found. However, the research only chose five peer-reviewed articles that proved to have relevant and accurate information that would meet the research set threshold. From the five selected articles, three are reviewed articles under the category of level 1-3 and two articles under the non-research category of level 4-5. All articles are about childhood obesity though they differ in the area of childhood obesity focus. For instance, one article talks about how childhood obesity develops and the factors that promote for instance parenting. Another article provides a medical view of childhood obesity and how it affects the health of children. There is also another article that talks about the right steps to take to prevent childhood obesity. In overall, the articles cover the issue of childhood obesity in all aspects thereby creating an overall picture.

C3. Research and non-research evidence

Research evidence articles used are; An, Ji, & Zhang (2017); and the authors of this article provides a review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of social media-based interventions on weight-related behaviors and body weight status. The article authors provide details and insights from past literature and authors. An article by Hutchens, & Lee, (2018); is another research evidence talking about parenting Practices and Children’s Physical Activity. The article is an integrative Review that provides detailed findings from other professionals about childhood obesity. The last chosen research evidence article is authored by Nigg et al., (2016) which is a review that focuses on different childhood obesity invention strategies. The article provides researched information about children already enrolled in a healthy program on how they can overcome obesity health challenge.

Non-research evidence use is that of is that of Gaffney et al., (2014). In this article, the authors provide views, opinions, and guidelines about the steps parents or caregivers should take during infancy in order to preven childhood obesity. An article by Vittrup, & McClure, (2018); is the second non-research evidence in this assignment. The article talks about different barriers that hinder successful childhood obesity prevention concerning parental knowledge and attitudes.



Evidence Matrix

Authors Journal Name/ WGU Library Year of Publication Research Design Sample Size Outcome Variables Measured Level (I–III) Quality (A, B, C) Results/Author’s Suggested Conclusions
An, Ji, & Zhang


The effectiveness of social media-based interventions on weight-related behaviors and body weight status: review and meta-analysis 2017 Qualitative Sufficient Dieting, physical exercises, and levels of motivation Level II A Social media is effective and can be used to share weight-related issues thus creating the right childhood obesity.
Hutchens, & Lee Parenting Practices and Children’s Physical Activity: An Integrative Review 2018 Mixed Sufficient Parenting styles, dieting, and physical activities Level I A Parents have a role when bringing up children as they determine the type of life their children should live. Thus, they should embrace healthier options available
Nigg, Anwar, Braun, Mercado, Kainoa Fialkowski, Areta, & DeBarysh A Review of Promising Multicomponent Environmental Child Obesity Prevention Intervention Strategies by the Children’s Healthy Living Program 2016 Mixed Large Environment, physical exercises, prevention, and intervention strategies Level III A Children’s healthy living program is an effective program that children with or without obesity should enroll as it helps in keeping childhood obesity at bay.




Childhood obesity is a highly preventable condition when healthy living conditions and styles are embraced and taught to children. According to Hutchens, & Lee, (2018); physical exercises can help reduce but not entirely address childhood obesity, and this means it is only through feeding properly with organic balanced foods, eating the right portions, and engaging in physical exercises that can eliminate childhood obesity and other ailments triggered by it. However, parents must be fully involved as they determine the meals and products that their children feed on the most. According to An, Ji, & Zhang, (2017); lack of knowledge is a major challenge, and social media can be used as a suitable tool for childhood obesity information sharing. Through the tool, people can share the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available.

Further, Gaffeny et al., (2016) also state that there are specific obesity prevention strategies every parent or guardian should know that help in preventing childhood obesity during infancy. Knowing these obesity prevention strategies such as avoiding the introduction of solid foods until after 6 months of age, understanding an infant’s satiety cues, and increasing physical play helps parents raise healthier and stronger children and prevent obesity at an early age. According to Nigg et al., (2016); the environment also contributes to childhood obesity. Members of the society should embrace programs to help parents and children overcome the health problem. Lastly, Vittrup, & McClure, (2018) provides vital insights that parents should be cautious of because they hinder the success of childhood obesity prevention strategies. These are parental knowledge and attitude and emphasizes that parents should put effort to gather the right knowledge and develop the right attitude.


F1. Key stakeholders

To implement the recommendation, three stakeholders must be involved; the government, parents, and members of the community. The government needs to be aware of the different strategies that childhood obesity information should be shared with parents and provide a suitable environment. The parents need to understand the vital role they play and attitude they should develop towards children with and those developing obesity. The members of the community need to understand the childhood obesity programs that they should endorse together along with the kind of support they should offer to parents with obese children.

F2. Barriers

Funding is the major barrier because the program is costly as well as the changes needed and hence might be hard for some stakeholders. The attitude might be another hindrance because some stakeholders are not bothered by the childhood obesity issue. Another reason is that lack of proper attitude would make it hard for the change to be successfully introduced and implemented.

F3. Strategies for barrier

Training and counseling is the overall and most effective strategy that can be used to address the barriers. The reason is that human beings naturally resist changes that they are not familiar with. By familiarizing the stakeholders first before making any move would create a positive and suitable environment for effective and collaborative change implementation. Another effective strategy is using motivational strategies to attract attention and interest of the stakeholders. For instance, using obese children in society and taking them through the recommendations and they become a living example.

F4. Indicators to measure the outcome

The reduction of childhood obesity rate would be the overall indicator to measure the outcome. The reason is that the main issue being addressed is the increasing rate of childhood obesity as well as an increase in mortality rate due to other conditions triggered by childhood obesity. The application of the recommendation and within a set timeframe with the number of childhood obesity rates starting to fall is an indication that the program was a success.













An, R., Ji, M., & Zhang, S. (2017). The effectiveness of social media-based interventions on weight-related behaviors and body weight status: review and meta-analysis. American journal of health behavior41(6), 670-682.

Gaffney, K. F., Kitsantas, P., Brito, A., & Kastello, J. (2014). Baby steps in the prevention of childhood obesity: IOM guidelines for pediatric practice. Journal of pediatric nursing29(2), 108-113.

Hutchens, A., & Lee, R. E. (2018). Parenting Practices and Children’s Physical Activity: An Integrative Review. The Journal of School Nursing34(1), 68-85.

Nigg, C. R., Anwar, M. M. U., Braun, K. L., Mercado, J., Kainoa Fialkowski, M., Areta, R., … & DeBaryshe, B. (2016). A Review of Promising Multicomponent Environmental Child Obesity Prevention Intervention Strategies by the Children’s Healthy Living Program. Journal of environmental health79(3).

Vittrup, B., & McClure, D. (2018). Barriers to childhood obesity prevention: Parental knowledge and attitudes. Pediatric Nursing44(2), 81-94.

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