Preventionof Obesity among Adults by Developing Proper Nutritional Habits inChildhood

Preventionof Obesity among Adults by Developing Proper Nutritional Habits inChildhood

Obesityis among the significant causes of death in the world. According toNg (2014) obesity causes about 3.3 million deaths each year, whichrepresents a loss of 3.9 % years of life worldwide. Obesity is aglobal challenge, where over 300 million people are affected (Ellulu,Abed, Ranneh, Rahmat &amp Ali, 2014). Although there are many riskfactors for obesity, poor eating habits make a significantcontribution towards the high prevalence of variations in BMI. Mostimportantly, a large number of adults suffering from obesity startexperiencing weigh problems during their childhood. This justifiesthe need to investigate whether the development of healthy eatinghabits during childhood can reduce the prevalence of obesity amongadults.

Roleof parents in preventing obesity during childhood and adulthood

Parentscan instill good eating habits using two strategies. The first andthe most effective strategy involve the establishment of a familyenvironment that is characterized by healthy feeding practices. Thisstrategy is based on an assumption that kids learn more by observingthan hearing (Tzou &amp Chu, 2012). Parents who adopt this approachregulate the eating habits of their children by ensuring that onlyhealthy foods are available at home. In addition, the establishmentof a suitable home environment involves eating together as a family,where parents take advantage of the gathering to educate childrenabout the significance of avoiding foods with excess fats andcalories. According to Scaglioni, Arrizza, Tedeschi &amp Vecchi(2011) the presence of at least a single parent during the familymeal is positively associated with a decline in consumption ofunhealthy meals among children. Children who are brought up in afamily that values proper eating habits continue with these practicesto adulthood, which lowers the risk of suffering form obesitythroughout their life.

Secondly,parents can have a direct control on what and when their childreneat. A study has shown that children take 63 % to 65 % of the dailycalories at their homes (Tzou &amp Chu, 2012). Parent who areconscious and aware of the risk of excess calories imposerestrictions on the type, amount, and the time when their childrenshould take food. According to Adamo &amp Brett (2013) over 72 % ofthe parents who practice healthy behaviors control the eatingpatterns, quality, and quantities of the food that their childrenconsume. However, strict control measures limit children’s abilityto make choices. This implies that parental control is more effectiveduring childhood, but some adults fail to observe the eating habitsthat were imposed to them by parents during childhood.

Eatinghabits in the school environment

Althoughchildren consume the largest proportion of their daily calories athome, trends indicate that most of the schools have adopted thefeeding program. According to Barnes (2010) more than 55 million ofthe school-going children in the United States choose to enroll inschools that offer at least one of the Federal nutritional assistanceprograms. This indicates that the schools should play a critical rolein establishing an environment that will help children start adoptinghealthy eating behaviors during their early stages of development.Unfortunately, 93-94 % of the meals offered in schools do not meetthe requited nutritional standards (Barnes, 2010). Therefore, theeducation system has contributed towards the exponential increase inthe prevalence of obesity among children and adults who miss theopportunity to learn the suitable eating habits from the school-basedfeeding practices. Schools that offer healthy meals not only preventchildhood obesity, but they also provide children with examples ofhealthy types of food. This provides them with healthy eating tipsthat they continue practicing up to adulthood (Barnes, 2010).

Apartfrom the delivery of healthy meals, studies have shown thatschool-based educational programs that seek to enlighten children onproper eating habits reduce the risk of suffering from obesity duringchildhood and adulthood. The effectiveness of these programs isattributed to the fact that they empower children by imparting themwith the knowledge as well as the skills that guide them in theprocess of selecting proper eating behaviors throughout their life(Nyberg, Norman, Zeebari, Sundlom &amp Elinder, 2016). Moreover,comprehensive programs that include the contribution of parents andthe stakeholders in the education sector are more effective than therole played by each of the parties acting individually. A studyconducted by Nyberg et al. (2016) indicated that the parent supportprograms that are offered in the school context are positivelyassociated with a decline in cases of obesity and overweight.Therefore, nutritional programs that focus on empowering children byproviding them with the necessary skills that help them make theright decisions have more long-term benefits than measures thatinvolve a direct parental control.


Theoccurrence of obesity during adulthood can be effectively preventedby developing proper nutritional habits in childhood. The process ofdeveloping the suitable eating habits requires the contribution ofparents and the stakeholders in the education sector. This is becausehomes and schools provide an environment in which children can learnproper eating habits that they carry on to their adulthood. Parentalcontrol over eating behaviors can minimize the risk of suffering fromobesity, but it is less effective in the long-run. Programs thatempower children to select the proper eating habits are moreeffective and protect them from obesity during childhood as well asadulthood.


Adamo,B. &amp Brett, K. (2013). Parental perceptions and childhood dietaryquality. Maternaland Child Health Journal,18 (4), 1-17.

Barnes,M. (2010). Solvingthe problem of childhood obesity within a generation.Washington, DC: Domestic Policy Council.

Ellulu,M., Abed, Y., Ranneh, Y., Rahmat, A. &amp Ali, F. (2014).Epidemiology of obesity in developing countries: Challenges andprevention. HerbertOpen Access Journal,2, 1-6.

Ng,M. (2014). Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweightand obesity in children and adults during 1980-2013: A systematicanalysis for the global burden of disease study 2013. TheLancet,766-781.

Nyberg,G., Norman, A., Zeebari, Z., Sundlom, E. &amp Elinder, L. (2016).Effectiveness of a universal prenatal support program to promotehealth behaviors and prevent overweight and obesity in 6-years-oldchildren in disadvantaged areas, the healthy school start study II, acluster-randomized controlled trial. InternationalJournal of Behavior Nutrition and Physical Activity,13 (4), 1-14.

Tzou,I. &amp Chu, N. (2012). Parental influence on childhood obesity: Areview. Health,4, 1464-1470.

Scaglioni,S., Arrizza, C., Tedeschi, S. &amp Vecchi, F. (2011). Determinantsof children are eating behavior. AmericanJournal of Clinical Nutrition,94, 6, 65-115.