You are on page 1of 3

To:

From:

Matthew Dull
Carlos Arroyo

Date: March 25, 2012


Memo #9
Instructions:
Using Eugene Bardachs Eightfold Path as a guide, propose an evaluation project
for the staff of Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension (http://www.ext.vt.edu/). Your
proposal should identify a problem and describe the important steps for completing
the study.
For Memo #9 I have chosen to tackle Childhood Obesity and utilize the exact
process and from Eightfold Path.

1. Define the Problem: Childhood Obesity is an epidemic that affects one-third of American
children.1
2. Assemble Some Evidence:
Health care costs are already the fastest-growing area of government spending and, according to
a recent McKinsey report, the projected spending for the U.S. on obesity could be as high as
$320 billion annually by 2018.2
Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
The percentage of obese children aged 611 years in the United States increased from 7% in
1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 1219 years who were
obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.3
3. Construct the Alternatives: While most education dealing with childhood obesity takes place in
an educational institute, there should be alternatives in place should the education system decide
not to sponsor the idea. One alternative to the school system would be the community. There is
a quote that says, It takes a village to raise a child. There should be more community activities
and outreach programs for all parties to participate in. Individuals who belong to a close-knit
community are more willing to participate in events and feel more comfortable surrounded by
people they know and trust. In the community there can be work out programs such as Boot
Camp workouts or Big Brother/Big Sister programs which can be used in households where
1 http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/243319.php

2 http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/243319.php

3 http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/obesity/facts.htm

both parents are working. The more community involvement there is, the less pressure is placed
on the school system to carry out this study.
4. Select the Criteria: The criteria for the project will be based on a control study of two groups of
kids from seventh to twelfth graders. One group of kids will eat a regular school lunch and live
their daily lives with no changes to their regular routines. The other group of kids will
participate in more physical activities and eat a more balanced meal. The criteria will be
revolved around monitoring weight of children, body mass index (BMI), grades, attendance in
school, and medical records. The reason why the criteria was chosen was because it will allow
for a full analysis of the impact childhood obesity has on a childs daily life in a controlled
setting such as a school environment. By selecting weight and BMI as criteria, we will be able to
see if factors such as diet and exercise contribute to decreasing obesity. We select grades in
school and attendance as relevant criteria because it will be important to note whether or not
obesity does play a role in how well a student does academically and if there is a correlation
between obesity and attendance. Are obese kids more prone to miss school compared to those
who are not obese? The last criteria used would be medical records. To understand the true
impact of obesity, medical tests will need to be conducted on a regular basis to monitor and track
any impact obesity plays on the overall health of children? One question that can be asked is
does obesity increase the chances of asthma? Or arthritis?
5. Project the Outcomes: Based on preliminary research I would hypothesize that children who are
not obese would get better grades and attend school more frequently. I believe that children who
suffer from obesity tend to experience more frequent health-related issues, therefore affecting
their attendance which, in turn, would hurt themselves academically. I would also claim that
children who are not obese are not as prone to medical issues as those who are obese.
6. Confront the Trade-offs: Possible trade-offs that the study might encounter would include
children being able to stay in the study for the duration of the entire study. Another trade-off
would be that parents might not want to participate in the study in any way. Budget is a major
factor in any study. As of now, the study would take place over the course of five years. If, for
some reason, the budget is decreased the study time need to be adjusted from five years to
possibly two years. The last trade off would be home life of children. With most households
now having both parents working, children have little to no supervision thus making it difficult
to ensure that they stick to the program.
7. Decide: Based on the problem being identified, alternatives and criteria used, it appears this
study will help identify and possibly be used as an education tool for further studies. At this
point, the study has attempted to identify all outcomes and possible trade-offs that could confront
this study. As with all studies, there could be external factors that may alter or change the course
of the study but, at this point, I feel this is the best way to proceed. If an external factor does
arise, that issue will have to be dealt with firmly and efficiently to ensure the integrity of the
study remains intact.
8. Tell Your Story: As stated, early childhood obesity in the United States is a growing epidemic.
While government agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Health and Human
Services have conducted multiple research studies, there has not been a mass push to educate
Americans as a whole. Until recently, First Lady Michelle Obama has been adamant in making
this issue a national concern. Michele Obama has developed a website called

http://www.letsmove.gov/ that is geared toward making a healthier generation of kids. I believe


that with more national exposure from individuals such as Michelle Obama, the issue of
childhood obesity will be taken more seriously and help prevent younger generations of children
from becoming obese in their childhood.