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Global Issues Report:

Children’s Health

Danny J. Magaña

University of Texas at El Paso

RWS 1301

Dr. Vierra

November 18, 2018



Even with advancements in our world, simple things such as dietary management and

environmental effects are still of big concern. The most important time for any plan to be put into

action to promote a healthy life style is during the age of birth to about 18 years of age (due to

adolescents coming to an end and these habits can be put into action) while also being warry

about what environmental effects that are present during this time in a person’s life. Unfortunate

not only is the United States affected by things such as dietary concerns or adverse

environmental effects, but other countries (i.e. Brazil) are now facing such an epidemic which is

in the current process of being dealt with. From research which is currently and previously been

conducted, with proper regulation and intervention from parents, health care systems, and

anyone who is some sort of prominent figure within a child’s life, it is possible to avoid bad

habits and help in improving the living environment of theirs as well.


Global Issues

Children’s Health

Imagine a world without starvation, however the leading cause of death in this theoretical

world is food. An interesting way of looking at this is once we all have enough to eat there is

nothing stopping us from indulging in our inner gluttons. This could raise the issue of diseases

amongst the populous, especially the children and adolescents. Now picture today's world and

think back on how perfect we all are. No overindulgence or malnutrition effecting our

population, except you can't. In our world where there is still issues with starvation, the

developed nations still partake in overindulgence and odious habits. With the increased

production of goods and services in the twentieth century, it has been the cause of these issues.

Even countries aside from the United States are now currently facing health crises

pertaining the similar, if not the same problems. Research has been conducted for quite some

time now (mostly during the 20th to current century) many different parties, and the importance

of behavioral habits for nutrition is very apparent now more than ever. With things such as social

media and the internet’s plethora of information causing some issues in this department as well,

whether it be physical or mentally depends on the environment and those within it. With any

accumulated knowledge on the behalf of parents and adults alike, the possibility of diverting and

fixing our current worlds issue of over consumption is as easy as teaching and managing our next

generation’s dietary/nutritional needs, while also promoting a healthier way of preparing,

purchasing, and controlling their food. With these regulation in place it is possible to help

improve our expanding world filled with children, and adults alike, who are so extremely

unhealthy it is now seen as normal to partake in these unsavory habits.



The current environment that a child or adolescent is included in throughout their school

and home life can impact their health. According to Ashiabi and O’Neal (2007) a child or

adolescents’ parents, mental state, availability to health benefits, and family’s income effects

their health (p. 1), such as the examples and flow of the effects shown in Figure 1. Whether it be

positive or negative, or having easy access to medical assistance or nutritional foods, or lack of

them (p. 2) it all has some effect in the long run. As an example, a family with low income was

observed and the conclusion of lack of food or “food insecurity” was present, along with a lack

of medical assistance (i.e. Health Insurance) (p. 2). Accordingly, when it came to school life, a

study conducted by Powell, Engelke, and Swanson (2018) concluded that nurses are in a prime

position to positively impact students as they are readily available to provide aid and advice on

healthier habits. With research conducted by Powell, Engelke, and Swanson, it was concluded

that when being able to intervene in specific scenarios it could assist in the “growth” of the

children, as children with higher to severe obesity are more likely to have a lower quality of life

and encounter issues physically and physiologically (p. 187). This confirms that people within

the environment children that are a part of could be of importance in influencing their health and

health habits, whether it be in a positive or negative way is dependent on the personality of those

individuals. Aside from people being of influence in this specific way, they could also provide

the needed push towards a nutritional diet.

The nutritional needs of children must be met, whether it be in a home or school setting.

According to Francis (1986), all children and adolescents must have a diet which can provide the

proper nutrition necessary for growth, while being financially feasible and socially acceptable.

Presented by Francis was the possibility of infections and catabolic issues being possible farther

down the line for children who have “over nutrition” or “under nutrition” (p. 6). Alongside this,

the regulation of a child’s diet should occur around the time of rapid growth. Based on this

evidence, Torre’s (1979) research on the nutritional needs difference of the sexes would be

supported with both sexes having a distinct period for “rapid growth,” creating a greater need to

regulate the distribution of foods in order to encourage optimal health and growth. Research of

over 7000 adolescents was conducted to come to the concluded ages of 12 to 16 for males, and

10 to 13 for females (p. 182). The point of either of these authors was that the requirement of a

hardy diet (which is nutritious in every way without overdoing anything) is the ideal route to go,

while being conscious of the period children will begin to rapidly change and grow (i.e. puberty)

in order to alter their diet slightly to assist in proper growth. Although a good diet is needed, food

cannot keep children away from environmental hazards, or provide healing when they fall

severely ill, in this instance health insurance is of great use.

Health insurance should play a big part in helping to keep a child’s and adolescent’s

health in check while providing assurance in case of a medical emergency. According to Wendee

(2018), Health-Care systems should become increasingly involved with their clients due to

trends emerging amongst modern children interacting with their environment, such as higher

rates of cancer. An emphasis on environmental effects is shown in Figure 2 with things such as

environmental pollution, tainted foods, and radiation taken into consideration. Reasoning behind

Wendee’s claim stems from children being more susceptible compared to the adults present

around them, which also makes them a sort of “canary in the mines” serving as a warning sign to

emerging trends in diseases (para. 1). This is important because even if such attention and care is

needed, not all people who receive health care are receiving the same benefits as stated by

Kenney (2007) with a study done on 16,700 SCHIP clients (p. 1522) where those with less time

with the company were less likely to receive the assistance they needed. The way in which

subjects were categorized was (1) people newly enrolled, (2) people enrolled for 5 months or

more, (3) and people who had recently dropped the service (p. 1523), after comparing results of

those who recently switched and having restricted access to their insurance coverage and those

who have been around longer receiving all the benefits. This confirms that when taking both into

consideration, health insurance should partake in the upkeep of our societies young, while

allowing for some research into environmental effects in order to deter harmful possibilities

while covering more for those families who have the means of purchasing their services. Even

with environmental health being of great importance, the effect of mental health is children or

adolescents in our world plays a significant role with possible developments taking place.

Parents and technology can contribute to the overall health of one’s children, while also

leaving the possibility for negative reinforcement. Russell (2018) states that the feeding habits

which parents follow corollate directly to their overall eating habits and weight, such as some

parents using modelling, encouragement of a balanced diet, and easy accessibility to nutritious

foods in the earlier stages of childhood (para. 1). Upon examination of consenting parents, it was

observed that methods such as modeling, healthy dietary recommendations, a varied pallet, and

ease of access to healthy alternatives to snacks and meals were used with all children, with the

exclusivity of pressuring to eat, food restriction, and food as a reward for the infant children.

However, technology and mass media being portrayed in a negative light as stated by Freyler

(2013), could lead to a possible contributing factor in the (possible) development of an anxiety

disorder (p. 774) due to all the negativity weighing on children, painting a terrible world. Based

on this evidence it is evident that parents and technology contribute a substantial amount on the

mental health and habits our youth’s development over time, with a more negative outlook on

life being more present the more one looks into world events and local news. Observation should

be done on our children as they age in order to assess how you could deter a growth of negative

habits and thoughts.

Observation and care should be taken for children approaching their development into

adolescents. According to Shrewsbury (2018), the period of adolescents is a crucial time in a

child’s life due to the higher development of noncommunicable diseases (NCD) (i.e.

cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancers) which are preventable in the long run (para

1). With research done on consenting adolescents from multiple schools, it was concluded that

females were less susceptible to NCDs like diabetes due to their habits of consuming less surgery

foods and beverages, while males were more susceptible but were less likely to develop the

NCDs females were vulnerable to (para 2). An important factor when considering parents getting

information on such diseases is the use of the internet and any sources easily accessible to them.

This is important because Walsh (2015) states that the use of the internet as a source of medical

advice is unadvisable due to the abundance of harmful or even life-threatening information

available while searching for remedies, even for the NCDs mentioned where any miscalculation

within the information gathered could potentially be harmful. When conducting an experiment

with consenting parents, it was seen that when told to only use researches available online some

remedies provided could have proved harmful if used at all or if used improperly (p. 9). This

shows that even though information is accessible online, it does not mean that it is safe, and with

parents who are even slightly concerned about the possible NCDs mentioned any information

that could be gathered does not mean it is useable or safe.

Unfortunately, the issue of nutrition and environmental effects doesn’t just affect the

United States (U.S.), but also other developed or developing countries (i.e. Brazil, Russia, India,

China, and South Africa). While the U.S. deals with these uses in their own manner, such as

proper education of the subject to both adults and children alike, other countries will contribute

an effort in their own ways. According to Eduardo G. J. (2015) there is no prominent evidence

leading to countries implementation of “obesity policies” being in a similar method nor being for

the same reasons. An example presented within Eduardo’s research into multiple countries and

the implantations of their obesity policies was how the government Rio Grande do Norte acted

against the “threat” viewing the possibility of it affecting them or their loved ones, which

prompts a quick response (p. 78). Although when it comes to environmental effects, things as

natural disasters can play a huge role on things such as health (in the obvious manner being clear

and concise death), with Mary Nelan (2011) (a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso)

recalling the effects of the 2010 earthquakes on the residents of Haiti within their dissertation,

and how those who had sprung to action had their health effected. Presented was how the

inhabitants of Haiti had their living arrangements drastically changed, with most leaping

amongst the rubble or under tarps and the like, while those who were there to aid faced adverse

health effects such as dehydration, tetanus, STIs, and stomach issues (p. 9).This confirms that

other parts of our world aside from the country in which we are a part of do come into issues

pertaining to nutrition or dietary needs, while even environmental effects will always play some

effect the people (even if the example of a natural disaster is a little extreme).


Youth integration within their world and those who are within it allow for an influential

atmosphere, where fending for themselves is not an option. This leads to health habits and their

overall health. The knowledge which is shared and perceived by any growing youth is of

significant value for their growth as a person and as an effective part of society. This could lead

to complications whether it be disease from the nutritional habits, negativity on social media or

news, or the neglect or povertized life from parents or guardians.

With all this being considered, could the world in which we live in really effect a child or

adolescent to the point in which it leads them down a healthy happy life, or would it pose its own

threats for a possible negative and more depressing outcome? With all the information gathered

from researchers and people who had witnessed firsthand the effects upon a child or adolescent

through the study done on school nurses, or the parents who partook in the experiments on the

use of online sources for medial or nutritional assistance, the world and those within it will

always play a role in shaping the younger generations. The outcome is unknown until the very



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income poverty, material hardship, and parental factors: Retrieved from http://0-


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domestic politics of policy reform through a nested analytic approach to comparative

analysis. Journal of health politics (pp. 73-99) Retrieved from http://0-




Francis D. E. M. (1986). Nutrition for children (First ed., pp. 1-140). Osney Mead, Oxford:

Blackwell Scientific.

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amplification, and health anxiety in adolescents. Journal of Health Psychology, Retrieved

from http://0-


Kenney, G. (2007, 08; 2018/9). The impacts of the state children's health insurance program on

children who enroll: Findings from ten states.42, 1520+. Retrieved from http://0-


Nelan M. (2011). Reflections of a disaster volunteer. Responding to Haiti’s earthquake:

Volunteer health and community relationships (pp. 7-16) UMI Dissertation Publishing.

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[Quality of Life in School-Age Children with Obesity.] (pp. p183-188) Retrieved





Russell, C. G. e. (2018). Parental feeding practices associated with children's eating and weight:

What are parents of toddlers and preschool children doing? Appetite, 128, 120. Retrieved

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Shrewsbury, V. A., et al (2018). School‐Level socioeconomic status influences adolescents'

Health‐Related lifestyle behaviors and intentions. Journal of School Health, 88(8), 583-

589. doi:10.1111/josh.12647

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(Ed.), Maternal and child nutrition: Assessment and counseling (First ed., pp. 181-211).

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Walsh, A. M., et al (2015). Use of online health information to manage children's health care: A

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Figure 1. Possible outlets which could affect a

child’s developmental health, elaborating on
when some could lead to one another.

Figure 2. Average amount of environmental

exposure experiences by people from ages 14 to
19, with parents and students included (ages