Impact of Education on Childhood Obesity
Data Collection Procedure
Data collection took place in two stages. First of all, anthropometrical variables (height and weight) were measured prior to the intervention. Participants were asked to fill in questionnaires that contained questions about the effect of healthy food and exercises on human health. The primary purpose of the questionnaires was to measure the participants’ knowledge on causes of obesity, as well as their awareness of the effects that sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits have on human health. Since some children are too young to be objective when answering these types of questions, parents were asked to control this process. At the end of intervention, the same variables will be measured and the same questionnaires will be distributed among the participants for the second stage of data collection.
Schedule and Time Frame
The time frame for this study was four weeks. According to Ahn, Heo, & Zhang (2014), safe weight loss rate for children between 6 and 11 years old is approximately 2 lb. per week. This means that, if the intervention is successful, more or less noticeable results can be observed in four weeks. The weight loss between 6 and 8 lb. among the participants is expected by the end of intervention. Taking into account this information, the researcher developed a schedule for the intervention. It consists of four weeks and, correspondingly, 20 days with each day’s information being presented in a separate form. The intervention used Weekly Nutrition/ Education Classes Attendance Forms to keep trace of the attendance and events that took place on a specific date (See Appendix A for more information). Presenting the data weekly, rather than daily forms the analysis of information.
Management of Data
The data obtained, prior to the intervention, were arranged into the Weight and Height Measurements Tables (Before/ After Intervention) (See Appendix B) and Food and Physical Exercises Questionnaires (See Appendix C). The participants’ BMI was calculated and the percentage of overweight students was determined. The same data will be collected after the intervention and recorded in the same tables. Presenting the data collected before and after intervention in the same table seems to be more convenient for their comparison and contrast. Similarly, the data collected with the help of questionnaires will be arranged in evaluation tables and contrasted before and after the intervention.
Obesity has numerous negative effects on human health, including hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and gastrointestinal disorders. If it continues into adulthood, economic burden it places on society is substantial. The comparison of medical costs for overweight and obese children in adulthood has shown that obese children will spend around $19,000 more on their health than children with normal weight (Duke Global Health Institute, 2014). This study uses a standard benefit-cost ratio to evaluate costs and benefits of the intervention.
To estimate costs of this intervention, it is necessary to calculate the costs of required resources and compare them with the average healthcare costs for each child. With regards to this, estimated cost of intervention is $8320 (See Appendix D for more details). Considering the sample of this study (20 participants), the expenses constitute approximately $412 per participant. This means that a net saving per each child constitutes more than $18,500. Therefore, this intervention can be regarded as cost-effective, considering the health benefits that the participants will get if they follow the recommendations after the study.
This study has two major outcomes: weight and knowledge about healthy lifestyle. Owing to the design of the evaluation tables and questionnaires, it will not be difficult to analyze project outcomes. First of all, the data will be recorded into proper graphs of the tables. Secondly, the data will be compared with those obtained prior to the intervention. Finally, the difference between the results before and after intervention will be calculated using one tailed paired t-test. Since the sample size is relatively small (some studies need to process data obtained from two or three thousand of the participants), there is no need to use software for the calculations. Data can be compared and analyzed manually. T-values in the columns before and after intervention will be calculated, and the difference between them will show whether the intervention was successful.
Since the study involves people, it requires a plan for human subject consent. The participants of the study are children between 6 and 11 years old, which means that most of them will need the presence of a parent during intervention. To avoid bias, all children took part in the study with one of their parents. Prior to the study, participants and their parents were given all the necessary information about the study, as well as were asked to sign the Human Subject Consent Form, confirming that they are willing to be subjects of this study. In case a definite parent was unable to be present on some day of the study, the participants were asked to provide a list of other people a child could take part in the study with (another parent, grandparent or an older sibling). The study deals with quite a sensitive issue, this is why the subjects agreed to participate anonymously. A code was assigned to each participant to ensure anonymity of the results. Since this is a practice recommendation, IRB approval is not needed for this study.
Ahn, C., Heo, M., & Zhang, S. (2014). Sample size calculations for clustered and longitudinal outcomes in clinical research. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Duke Global Health Institute (2014). Over a lifetime, childhood obesity costs $19,000 per child. Retrieved from http://globalhealth.duke.edu/media/news/over-lifetime-childhood-obesity-costs-19000-child.
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