Nursing Research on the Green
Cheryl Gergens, BSN, RN, MSN Student
- Background: The incidence of childhood obesity is increasing at an alarming rate.
- Significance: Advanced practice nurses play a pivotal role in detecting and treating childhood obesity. Advanced practice nurses have a responsibility to identify at-risk children and provide valuable education.
- Purpose/objective: The purpose is to determine if school-aged children who participate in school-based programs have a reduced incidence of obesity, specifically, lower BMIs, when compared to children who do not attend these programs.
- Methods: A literature review was conducted of five databases were searched to yield a final sample size of 16 studies. All programs incorporated additional physical activity, nutrition education, or both.
- Results: The ability of these school-based programs to reduce obesity is inconclusive. 9 studies reported a significant decrease in participant BMI, while 6 studies reported no significant change in BMI. 1 program reported a significant increase in BMI among male participants.
- Clinical Implications: Further research is needed to determine the role of various sociocultural factors, the effect of parental involvement, and the long-term feasibility of these programs. Advanced practice nurses have an important role in identifying obese children and educating their families on the associated health risks. These programs do not replace treatment for obesity, but advanced practice nurses should encourage children to participate in these health promotion programs. It is important for advanced practice nurses to collaborate with school nurses, counselors, and other healthcare providers to ensure thorough prevention, screening, and treatment for overweight and obese children.
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