New York City and Childhood Obesity

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Over 30% of American youth are fat, and it's likely that the numbers will continue to rise (Ogden, Carroll, & Kit, 2014). In the US, the impact of childhood obesity, particularly among those under the age of 19, is now anticipated to be worse than the impact of drug use and smoking among young individuals in the same age range. Children's obesity is associated with a wide range of health issues, including serious illnesses and numerous psychological disorders. Unfortunately, research show that many households and parents are uninformed on how to effectively handle childhood obesity and the steps they may take to completely avoid the epidemic (Singh, Siahpush, & Kogan, 2010). This crisis of child obesity sequentially is escalating a problem in costs of healthcare with approximately $242 million annual medical costs spend on these children (Ogden, Carroll, & Kit, 2014). The high prices are increasing the strain on a budget of New York State. Studies indicate that obesity and overweight terms imply weight ranges that are higher than what is commonly regarded to be healthy for a specific height. A computation called body mass index (BMI), uses an individual's height and weight to the measurement of body fat, to show whether a person is obese or overweight.

Surprisingly, children aged as young as six months suffer from obesity and the problem has become worse as children develop, today reaching epidemic levels. For children aged between 2 and five as well as young people aged between 12 and 19, rates of obesity have almost tripled in the last three decades. However, the figure has quadrupled for children aged between 6 and 11.

Causes of obesity in children are quickly identified and include inferior eating habits, easily accessible processed foods which have high sugar and fat content. Advanced technology that has led to young people to engage less in physical activity has also contributed to increasing rates of obesity. A study conducted in New York among high school students show that students do not eat the daily requirement of five or more produce servings (Dehghan, Danesh & Merchant, 2005 ).62 percent fail to achieve the required levels of physical exercise and 87 percent hardly engage in the school's physical education (Ogden, Carroll, & Kit, 2014).

The prevalence of childhood obesity leads to more severe extended healthcare and medical complications because young are at more risk of becoming overweight in their adulthood. This risk increases with the child's age and amount of overweight. A 70 percent probability of becoming obese in adulthood is linked to an obese adolescent while the possibility of this increase to 8 percent is if at least one of the teenager's parents is overweight (Dehghan, Danesh & Merchant, 2005 ).

Establishing the evaluation criteria

There is no single approach to the epidemic of childhood obesity. It is a complicated problem that requires multiple strategies. Healthcare and childcare professionals, schools, community and business leaders, state and local bodies, policy makers and individuals must combine efforts to form an environment. When choosing policies for managing childhood obesity, focus should be based on the most effective ways of prevention which should include interventions and plans for both immediate and long-term actions (World Health Organization,2012). Identifying the best approaches to prevent obesity in childhood is very significant for policymakers, researchers in public health and the average population. However, hardly any focus has been directed to finding ways that work and also perform excellently for the funds invested in them. The target should be to choose those interventions that yield cost savings. It is vital to examine the cost-effectiveness and comparative -effectiveness of a variety of policies aimed at preventing obesity in children including interventions and policy changes that have been found to be prevalent, promising and useful. Action to reduce obesity in young people requires multiple contexts and incorporate diverse ways while engaging different stakeholders. Extended interventions are expected at various levels including individual levels in institutions and community backgrounds to influence change in behavior. Other standards include urban planning, education, food manufacturing and agriculture.

Each policy may have minimal impact when analyzed in isolation, however, can comprise vital components to a complete strategy (World Health Organization, 2012). Efforts of preventing of childhood obesity ought to be carefully combined with other attempts to manage all key risk factors such as low physical energy and unhealthy diet. These efforts are required at all society levels including non-governmental organizations, private organizations, governments, and communities.

Some studies show that young people from higher socioeconomic backgrounds benefit more from interventions unlike their counterparts from lower economic backgrounds (Dehghan, Danesh & Merchant, 2005). Practitioners and policymakers must hence consider the possible effect of policies to ensure that prevention of childhood obesity does not widen existing inequalities. Prevention of obesity should focus on safeguarding the rights of every child to a healthy beginning of life. Programmes and strategies need to first consider the incorporation of vulnerable groups especially children with disabilities. Young people with special needs in learning, for example, can benefit from guidance and recommendations on the adjustment of population-based policies for particular groups. It is also vital to ensure that young people are not underprivileged based on their gender.

Finally, policies for preventing childhood obesity need to be included in the current Programmes and plans that target to promote physical activity and diet (Dehghan, Danesh & Merchant, 2005 ). Strategies that use particular contexts should also seek for integration. In some cases such as schools, it has been possible to include education of behavior change in their current curriculum. Interventions for obesity prevention should be encouraged by policies within all government levels including local, regional and national. National policies can build supportive conditions; regional systems can enable assembling of resources while local structuring of plans leads to better-targeted interventions. International support for prevention of obesity can aid in addressing environmental aspects such as building a healthier supply of food.

Identifying Alternative Policies

Specific policies mainly based on expert opinions and other supported by clinical research are recommended. They include the following.

Surveillance Policy

Surveillance involves regular observation of obesity and nutrition status of young people through periodic calculations of BMI and presenting the BMI results on charts to monitor changes (Ogden, Carroll, & Kit, 2014). All children would be evaluated for factors related to obesity to enable early intervention. This evaluation would include recording the BMI of their parents and assess primary physical activity and nutritional habits. For obese children, other diseases should be evaluated through laboratory screening, physical examination and focused review of processes. A nationwide database should be maintained on temporal patterns in diabetes and obesity.

Education policy

All young people and their families to receive education on natural healthcare while focusing on obesity. Advice on physical activity and nutrition to be offered via audiovisual media in ways that is culturally conducive. Local champions and prominent individuals should be encouraged to endorse healthy lifestyles. For already overweight children, regular interventions of clinical counseling in the setting of primary care are recommended (Dehghan, Danesh & Merchant, 2005). Educational material should be available from various sources to enable useful advice. Higher-intensity approaches will be necessary for severe obesity or those cases that fail to respond to short-term clinical intervention.

Community Policy

The community to be involved in organizing and engaging in healthy food festivals and health walks while parents, particularly mothers receive information on nutrition. Workshops and information on diet for children to be arranged for newly married spouses. Interventions and communication should support rather than blame, and be family focused rather than child-focused alone. This way, it will build a therapeutic link and promote effectiveness, long-term behavioral changes that are associated to the risk of obesity should be encouraged instead of prescriptions of exercise and diets that tend to last shortly.

Perinatal Period and Early Infancy Policy

Pregnant mothers should be provided with balanced nutrition and be encouraged to breastfeed when their babies are born. Efforts should be made to avoid catching-up obesity among children. The correct growth velocity to be maintained with the guidance of an expert and excess nutrition should not be given to stunted children.

School-Based Interventions Policy

Schools should place high significance on physical activity among children. Also, the institution should ensure that foods in the cafeteria a healthy and ban dense energy food and sweetened beverages. Teachers should be trained about health education so they can pass it on to children. Nutrition-related diseases, physical education and further information regarding nutrition should be incorporated into the school curriculum.

Home-based interventions Policy

There should be essential objectives to solve the conventional problems related to diet facing children. Also, firm restrictions should be placed on television and media in general during the early life of the child and habits of regular physical activity to be established. Leisure time on computer and TV can be restricted to not more than 2 hours per day and (Ogden, Carroll, & Kit, 2014). children to engage in a mandatory physical activity of 60 minutes daily supervised by parents. Children should also be restricted from consuming junk food and eating out.

Legislation and Health Authority Policy

A national task force on childhood obesity should be created while reducing taxes on the cost of healthier foods such as vegetables and fruits. State authorities to ensure that there are more bicycle track, parks, and playgrounds for physical activities. There should be a limited advertisement of commercialized food on media during children's Programmes and prime time. Transnational food companies should be encouraged to manufacture healthy snacks that are healthy, and a ban should be imposed on unfair claims on nutrition for commercial products. Additionally, a ban should be imposed on monetary sponsorship by Cola companies of youth festivals. There should be quality monitoring, and labeling of food and the food policy should include guidelines that are country specific for healthy nutrition among children and adults.

Evaluating Alternative Policies


Measuring and keeping records of obesity and weights through monitoring among school children helps to understand the progress of obesity in this population group. Consequently, comparisons with other regions support to make informed decisions and take action to reverse negative trends. Surveillance is a particular process that offers a broad set of data of children in New York based on standardized measurements of height and weight and representative samples. It is acknowledged that harmonized systems of surveillance in school children help to inform policy development within the state of preventing childhood obesity.


It is essential to deal with overweight early to promote the health of children and families in New York and decrease unnecessary further expenditures in healthcare associated with child obesity. Consequently, the State Comptroller should perform audits of services for school meal and programs of school physical education. Extended, well-coordinated policies are essential to preventing the obesity crisis. Provided that 90 percent of young people are enrolled in institutions, and it is within organizations that children get the chance to consume a significant fraction of their daily intake of food and become active in physical activity, efficient health programs in school could contribute significantly towards addressing the overweight problem (Dehghan, Danesh & Merchant, 2005 ). Institutions that engage in the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program must fulfill federal guidelines on nutrition. For instance, according to the directions, calories coming from fats should not exceed 30 percent, with a maximum of 10 percent coming from saturated fats (Ogden, Carroll, & Kit, 2014). Additionally, school breakfast offers one-quarter and lunches one-third of the required dietary allowances of calories, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and protein. Another initiative by the State Education Department is the introduction of regulations that vending machines in institutions do not dispense candy or soda before the end of the final period of lunch. To date, it is yet to be determined whether schools in New York State are correctly observing these specific rules.


Research indicates that in the prevention of childhood obesity, community-based strategies are vital. A structured assessment of prevention programs for childhood obesity discovered that programs within the community that involve schools and encourage physical activity and a healthy diet are more efficient. The best way to assist in the prevention of childhood obesity is to focus on nutrition and physical activities in the neighborhoods where children reside and go to school because the environment contributes significantly to the risk of obesity.

Perinatal period and Early Infancy

Abundant evidence of epidemiology from the developed world today indicate that increased weight gain in the first half of the life of an infant is likely to lead to obesity. Besides the type of feeding, the perianal endocrine milieu is another determinant. Emerging human and animal data raise the likelihood chat making sure that the growing fetus is adequately exposed to leptin thereby regulating the balance of energy as the baby grows. Examining the cognitive and cardiovascular stability as well as understanding these pathways in infants will ensure that the best interventions are implemented to prevent obesity in babies (Dehghan, Danesh & Merchant, 2005 ).

School-based Interventions

School-based interventions are essential in the prevention of obesity in children because most children lack resource, physical activity education, nutrition education and support away from home. Because of the period spent by children in school, it offers the best avenue for implementing obesity prevention plans. When health experts combine efforts, they share lessons on how to promote efficacious and cost-effective school-based interventions which will reduce the epidemic.

Legislation and Health authority

Creative Ideas as well as resources and time commitment by different stakeholders, alongside long-term efforts incorporating societal, institutional and individual changes help to ensure physical and mental health among children (Ogden, Carroll, & Kit, 2014). Additionally, national authority elevates the prevention of childhood obesity to the highest level of federal priority by dedicating resources and funds needed to achieve this objective. Only through research, programs, legislation and policies will lead to meaningful changes in the monitoring and evaluation of the process.

Display and distinguish among alternative policies

Today there is limited evidence to show the effectiveness of various policies and interventions in preventing childhood obesity. Nonetheless, community-based approaches that are multi-strategy and multi-sector show some indications of being successful as well as having the capacity to be cost-effective, sustainable and equitable. Child care settings, preschools, and schools are all seen as significant contexts for population-based efforts in prevention of child obesity given their vital role in encouraging physical activity and healthy eating habits among children.

Monitoring the implemented policy

Even though childhood obesity is starting to plateau, severe obesity in children is rising nationwide monitoring. However, in New York City, more severe overweight is reducing faster than obesity. Correct tracking of severe cases of obesity offers public health and clinicians with the capacity to aim at the population at risk for adverse outcomes of health (World Health Organization, 2012). Additionally, due to the rise in morbidity risks for severely overweight cases, the progress of prevention of acute obesity becomes more significant. Policymakers are striving further to monitor the patterns in both standard and severe cases of obesity while preventing the general epidemic of childhood obesity (Ogden, Carroll, & Kit, 2014). Plans to reduce widespread obesity in children prevalence in New York have successfully helped to decrease severe childhood obesity with the sub-population. Various effective interventions have been implemented with the objective of improving diet, physical activity, and the environment. These strategies have been established in pre-school institutions, schools, home and after-school care. However, further studies are required to explore the most efficient ways of prevention and management of childhood obesity. These policies should be ethical, culture-specific and based on the socio-economic factors of the New York population.


Childhood Obesity has become a serious crisis of the current century. Even though obesity was considered as an illness early in the old Greece, it has advanced a lot as it is turning more prevalent today. While previously, the medical fraternity is concerned more on infectious illnesses and undernutrition as the primary causes of poor health, currently obesity is given much more significance. In New York, childhood obesity is regarded an epidemic, and it is presumed to become one the major health issues in future. This crisis of child obesity sequentially is escalating a problem in costs of healthcare with million being spent annually on these children. The high prices are increasing the strain on a budget of New York State. Medical practitioners are not only concerned but the whole society led by social activists, scientists, and leaders who are currently treating obesity as a critical worrying public health problem among children that need urgent help. The impact of obesity is not only felt by children alone but everyone around them including, family and the society in general.

Annotated Bibliography

Dehghan, M., Danesh, N. A., & Merchant, A. T. (2005). Childhood obesity, prevalence and prevention. Nutrition Journal, 4(24). Retrieved from

The paper investigates the prevalence of childhood obesity in the early 2000's to 2004. Causes of the condition are explored in detail, as are the prevention measures that can be used to check on the situation, including key policy changes.

Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., & Kit, B. K. (2014). Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA, 311(8), 806-814. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.732

The paper provides an up to date estimate of the number of both adults and children that have been affected by childhood obesity and provides a trend analysis of the prevalence of obesity in the US from 2003 to 2010. The findings of the paper will be important in answering the research questions in the proposed study.

Singh, G. K., Siahpush, M., & Kogan, M. D. (2010). Rising Social Inequalities in US Childhood Obesity, 2003-2007. Annals of Epidemiology, 20(1), 40-52. Retrieved from

The study investigates the prevalence of childhood obesity among children of different ethnic and racial groups in the United States. Factors that contribute to childhood obesity in each category of the respondents is also analyzed in detail and the factors that may accelerate obesity in group as compared to another analyzed in detail.

World Health Organization. (2012). Childhood Obesity Prevention. Retrieved from WHO:

A working paper by the World Health Organization on Childhood Obesity. The paper evaluates the primary causes of childhood obesity and proposes policy and environmental changes that can be used to treat affected children and prevent the likelihood of the situation getting worse in future.


Dehghan, M., Danesh, N. A., & Merchant, A. T. (2005). Childhood obesity, prevalence and prevention. Nutrition Journal, 4(24). Retrieved from

Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., & Kit, B. K. (2014). Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA, 311(8), 806-814. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.732.

Singh, G. K., Siahpush, M., & Kogan, M. D. (2010). Rising Social Inequalities in US Childhood Obesity, 2003-2007. Annals of Epidemiology, 20(1), 40-52. Retrieved from

World Health Organization. (2012). Childhood Obesity Prevention. Retrieved from WHO:

March 15, 2023

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