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Is developmental research useful for understanding the impact of early institutionalisation and childhood obesity?

Is developmental research useful for understanding the impact of early institutionalisation and childhood obesity?

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by Laura Mangan. Originally submitted for TR006 at Trinity College, University of Dublin, with lecturer Elizabeth Nixon in the category of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by Laura Mangan. Originally submitted for TR006 at Trinity College, University of Dublin, with lecturer Elizabeth Nixon in the category of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
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10/27/2013

 
1
Essay Title:
Is developmental research useful for understanding the impact of earlyinstitutionalisation and childhood obesity?
 
2The Report of the National Taskforce on Obesity (RNTO, 2005) has described theprevalence of childhood obesity in Europe as an epidemic and according to Hedley atal. (2004) childhood obesity is of great public health concern. Obesity is now the mostcommon of the childhood diseases. Approximately 10% of school aged children in theworld are overweight and 2.5% of these are obese (Lobstein, Baur & Uauy, 2004).However, currently in Ireland there are no criteria for the assessment of obesity inIrish children. Studies do show that the amount of children who are classed assignificantly overweight has trebled over the last decade. The RNTO suggest that if data from research from the UK were extrapolated then it could be implied that over300,000 of the children in Ireland are overweight or obese with 10,000 being added
annually. The economical impact of obesity for Ireland in 2003 was estimated at €30
million for in-patient treatment alone. Lytle (2009) states that obesity tends to followon from childhood and Wang et al. (2008) has suggested that in 2030 16% of grosshealth expenditure will be spent on obesity related treatment. As a result of childhoodobesity children have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, premature deathand other obesity related ailments during early adulthood (Lobstein et al., 2004).Obesity is also associated with psychosocial problems. Children are more likely tosuffer form social exclusion and depression due to the disease (Lobstein et al., 2004).Specifically, in Ireland prejudices against obese individuals seem to be almost sociallyacceptable and is widespread throughout the country (RNTO, 2005).According to Caprio (2006)
 
an effective prevention and treatment strategy is urgentlyneeded due to the growth in the prevalence of childhood obesity. In the case of obesity, prevention tends to be far more attainable than a cure. The treatment of advanced obesity in adulthood is limited in its ability to achieve results and thus thebest strategy is to put early interventions in place to cap excessive weight gain inchildhood. She suggests an intervention for children that introduces, models andreinforces healthy lifestyles and behaviour in early childhood as a solution. Thefactors that influence obesity include individual, social environmental, physical andmacrosystem (Story & Neumark-Sztainer, 2002). In the following essay the authorshall endeavour to discuss childhood obesity and its multiple determinants.Specifically, how developmental theory such as modelling theory aids the
 
3understanding of the causes of obesity and the contributions and limitations of interventions will be discussed.It has been found that there is a positive correlation between parental and child foodpreferences (Borah-Giddens & Falciglia, 1993). Not only do children learn abouteating through their own experience but also through watching others. Parentalinfluence is critical during childhood (Story & Neumark-Sztainer, 2002). Patrick and
 Nicklas (2005) suggested that children model their parents’
eating behaviours andused findings of similarities between child and parent food preferences as evidencefor this. Davidson and Birch (2001) also suggest that parental modelling forms
children’s eating behaviours.
 
Children want to eat what they see their parents eating(Birch & Marlin, 1982)
.
Children are more likely to tryout new foods if they see anadult trying it and even more likely again if they see their mother trying the new food(Harper and Sanders, 1975). Other research has shown an effect of peer influence on
children’s eating patterns. For example, Birch (1980) found that there was an increase
in the consumption of disliked vegetables for children who saw their peers selectingand eating that particular vegetable. Furthermore, research has shown that peerinfluence over participation in sport is stronger than familial influence (Wold &Anderssen, 1992). In
 
relation to healthy eating, Fisher, Mitchell, Smiciklas-Wrightand Birch (2002) found that there was a positive correlation between parental andchild consumption of fruit and vegetables. Moreover, modelling of healthy dietarybehaviour was related to a lower fat intake overall (Lau, Quadrel &Hartman, 1990).Lobstein et al. (2004) stated that in order for a dietary and physical intervention toachieve greater success the parents must act as key instigators and engage in theprocess. Caprio (2006) concurs with this approach and emphasises the role of theentire family especially primary carers as role models. There is a positive correlationbetween parental participation in physical activities and their children being activeindividuals. Specifically, parental participation tends to have a greater effect on girlsthan on boys (Wold & Anderssen, 1992). Davidson and Birch (2001) posit that thismay be due to the fact that girls tend to have fewer role models outside of theirfamilies. The links between parental and child patterns of activity can be used as

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