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Doctor of Nursing Practice
Family Nurse Practioner
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Month Degree Awarded
childhood obesity, primary care, best practice guidelines, interventions
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Over the last thirty years, childhood obesity has become one of the presiding diseases in the pediatric population. Last year the CDC (2012) reported that 12.5 million children under the age of five were not only overweight but also obese. This growing trend has been inadequately addressed by the United States preventive healthcare system. The pandemic has continued to spread: America’s obese children have substantially contributed to the ever-growing fiscal demands of health care in the United States. Olshansky et al. (2005) suggest this will in turn translate into the first generation of American adults that will be sicker and die younger than their parents.
Utilizing the current practice guidelines for the screening, prevention, and treatment of childhood obesity reveals that the complexity of the problem necessitates an equally intricate solution. Adequate identification through screening and immediate initiation of conservative treatment is recommended. Increased family participation is also supported. The American Academy of Pediatrics, United States Preventive Services Task Force, and The Endocrine Society all support holistic primary care interventions as the most effective in treating and preventing childhood obesity.
The “Eat Well, Live Actively” program was created in alliance with these clinical guideline recommendations. The “Eat Well, Live Actively” program was designed with four main components: two visits with the pediatrician, two visits with a dietician, bi-weekly classes at the YMCA, and weekly follow-up communication with the program coordinator. Anthropomorphic data was collected pre- and post-intervention: height, weight, and BMI percentage. A pre- and post- healthy lifestyle questionnaire was also completed. Lastly, participant and parent satisfaction surveys were collected at the conclusion of the program.
Due to significant data variance and difficulty recruiting and retaining participants, the results from this program are not statistically significant and proved inconclusive. Additionally, the impact of poverty on the sample size of this study was unexpected and inadequately prepared for. This study confirmed the findings reflected in the literature: controlling for the many factors that influence childhood obesity is very difficult. Future research is needed in the primary care setting that focuses on supporting and minimizing the socioeconomic difficulties and disparities that convolute the path to establishing a model for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.