Exploring the Social Determinants of Childhood Obesity

1. Social determinants of health

The social determinants of health are referred to the situations in which individuals are born, live, grow, age and work. The situations are mainly shaped with the help of distribution of power, money and resources at the local, national and global levels (Taylor et al. 2016). The key social determinants of health related to childhood obesity include physical activity, food environment, sleeping pattern, nutritional behaviour, psycho-social determinants, employment and others (Zeiher et al. 2016). In Islington, 10.3% of the children between 4-5 years of age are obese and 21.5% of the children who are 10-11 years of age are obese (files.datapress.com, 2017). This has mainly happened due to lack of proper nutrition, physical activity, unemployment of parents and others. In Islington, overall rate of employment rate is lower compared to London with 7% working age population in the area being still unemployed (files.datapress.com, 2017). The unemployment leads parents of the child face lack of proper income to buy nutritious food for them. As fast foods are cheaper in price and easily available, the parents to meet the hunger of the children buy them fast food which is one of the key reasons related to obesity in children (Monsivais et al. 2015; Hemmingsson, 2018). This is because fast food contains increased amount of unsaturated fats and sugar that adds to the weight of the body as they cannot be used properly (Tuñón-Pablos and Dreby, 2016). The physical activity leads the body to use nutrients and fats from the food to develop energy avoiding addition of lipids and fats to the weight of the body (Sahoo et al. 2015). Thus, lack of physical activity among children in Islington is one of the determinants of obesity. In Islington, 34.5% of children are living under poverty leading them unable to take in nutritious food which results them to be obese due to lack of proper nutrition (files.datapress.com, 2017).

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2. Public health provision in the borough

The Public Health is referred to the science and act of increasing lifespan by preventing diseases through organised efforts and taking informed choices in the society by the individuals, community, private and public organisation (Do et al. 2017). In this section, the provision for the public health in Islington is to be discussed to tackle childhood obesity and other concerning diseases in the area.

In Islington, the public health conditions of health of the individuals are poor with is evident as 23% of school children are obese or overweight, 36% of children who are above the age of six are obese as reported in 2013 (www.islington.gov.uk, 2013). However, in England 28% of children between the age of 2-15 are obese or overweight (fullfact.org, 2018). The figures indicate that public health regarding childhood obesity in Islington is at a concerning stage as most of the individuals in the borough are suffering from obesity at a higher rate compared to average data collected in England. In relation to this, the NHS Islington has set up Health and Wellbeing Board in the area which has the aim regarding public health in Islington to improve quality of life of individuals by offering treatment and implementing preventive measures for diseases including mental health. The aim also include each of the child to have best start in their life in Islington and they are to offered opportunity in availing best services regarding any diseases may it be obesity or others to live a quality life (www.islingtonccg.nhs.uk, 2019).

The Health and Wellbeing Board in the borough is run by the Islington Council and local authorities who take up decision to plan healthcare provision in the area (www.islington.gov.uk, 2015). The Board in Islington borough has allowed provision for the school children to claim Free School Meals both at the primary and secondary schools (www.islington.gov.uk, 2013). This is allowed so that proper nutrition can reach the children of the area to offer them better growth and health as well as avoid being obese due to intake of cheap fast foods. The services and provision in the area are seen to be provided by following the policy guidelines in Children and Families Act 2014, Equality Act 2010, Health and Social Care Act 2012 and others (www.islington.gov.uk, 2013; www.legislation.gov.uk, 2010; www.legislation.gov.uk, 2012; www.legislation.gov.uk, 2014). The other provision provided by the Health and Wellbeing Board to reduce childhood obesity is weight management programme and Healthy Children’s Centre and Healthy School programme were they offer services and education to obese and overweight children in the area regarding the way to reduce their weight to normal. The outcome of the service is effective as each year it is informed that nearly 345 obese or overweight children along with their families are encouraged through the programme regarding the way they can take steps to resolve the health issues of childhood obesity (www.islington.gov.uk, 2013).

The outcome of the services is that the children in poverty in Islington have considerably reduced since 2007 from 49% to 41% until 2013 (www.islington.gov.uk, 2013). This indicates that services and provision provided are effective to manage the social determinants of health such as poverty which often leads to childhood obesity as mentioned in the previous section. The provisions are effectively provided to the groups in needs in Islington which is evident as without such initiative reduction in poverty would not have been experienced in the borough. The Health and Wellbeing Board in Islington also offer provisions such as Families for Life where support are offered to families in the area to be able to make healthier choices; Healthy eating Cooking and Nutrition which guides the way individuals in the area are to intake what nature of foods throughout the day and others (www.islingtoncs.org, 2019). These provisions are effective to provide information to the families in Islington regarding the way they are to develop food environment and intake nutritious food to avoid key social determinants of health related to childhood obesity and others disease. In the given reports, no gaps regarding the position are highlighted as each of the children and individuals are reported to be free to take part in the programs (www.islington.gov.uk, 2013).

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Conclusion

The above discussion informs that childhood obesity in Islington borough is mainly due to the reason of unemployment, poverty, food environment and others. This is because unemployed parents have not enough money to buy nutritious food which makes they buy gats foods for their children which are cheaper in nature to meet the hunger of the children. In Islington Borough, various healthcare service provisions such as weight management programme and Healthy Children’s Centre and Healthy School programme and others are developed to ensure control of childhood obesity in the area. The outcome of the services is that there is increased participation of children as well as their parents and families in the program ensuring development of better awareness regarding childhood obesity in the borough.

References

  • Do, L.M., Tran, T.K., Eriksson, B., Petzold, M. and Ascher, H., 2017. Prevalence and incidence of overweight and obesity among Vietnamese preschool children: a longitudinal cohort study. BMC pediatrics, 17(1), p.150.
  • files.datapress.com 2017, Child Health Profile March 2017, Available at: https://files.datapress.com/sport/dataset/chld-health-profiles-2017/2017-01-26T18:50:00/LSR223%20Islington.pdf [Accessed on: 10 April 2019]
  • fullfact.org 2018, 28% of 2-15 year olds in England estimated to be overweight or obese, Available at: https://fullfact.org/health/childhood-obesity/ [Accessed on: 10 April 2019]
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  • Saho, oK., Sahoo, B., Choudhury, A.K., Sofi, N.Y., Kumar, R. and Bhadoria, A.S., 2015. Childhood obesity: causes and consequences. Journal of family medicine and primary care, 4(2), p.187.
  • Taylor, L.A., Tan, A.X., Coyle, C.E., Ndumele, C., Rogan, E., Canavan, M., Curry, L.A. and Bradley, E.H., 2016. Leveraging the social determinants of health: what works?. PLoS One, 11(8), p.e0160217.
  • Tuñón-Pablos, E. and Dreby, J., 2016. Risk factors for overweight and obesity among mexican children in New York. International Journal of Population Research, 2016.pp.12-90.
  • www.islington.gov.uk 2013, Childhood obesity, Available at: https://www.islington.gov.uk///~/media/sharepoint-lists/public-records/publichealth/information/factsheets/20142015/20141021childhoodobesityfactsheetseptember20141 [Accessed on: 10 April 2019]
  • www.islingtonccg.nhs.uk 2019, Health and Wellbeing Board, Available at: http://www.islingtonccg.nhs.uk/about-us/health-and-wellbeing-board.htm [Accessed on: 10 April 2019]
  • www.legislation.gov.uk 2010, Equality Act 2010, Available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents [Accessed on: 10 April 2019]
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  • Zeiher, J., Varnaccia, G., Jordan, S. and Lange, C., 2016. What are the determinants of childhood obesity?: A literature review as part of the project" Nationwide Monitoring of Childhood Obesity Determinants". PubMed, 59(11) ,pp.23-29.

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