Childhood Obesity Study: Ethical Considerations

Childhood obesity usually originates because of insufficient care and attention expressed by parents. Family traditions, values, and habits directly influence child development, eating, and physical activity practices. Obesity tends to create many obstacles for children and can be characterized by ethical issues. Therefore, the current study should address the ethical considerations and propose a plan on how to protect human rights.

Almost every research study concerns ethical aspects, but it is necessary to address them promptly. The first consideration is about the equality of all participants regardless of their socioeconomic status, age, race, or gender. All children and young people should be provided the same opportunities and resources. Azevedo and Vartanian (2015) suggest that interventions that target the physical environment should be favorable for participants to engage in healthy behaviors and activities.

Moreover, the principles of eco-development suggest that a focus on healthy lifestyles should be promoted not only among obese children but for the entire population. Such an approach not only assures equality for everyone but also promotes physical activity culture in society. Other ethical issues are associated with public messages and reports. People possess a right to non-disclosure of their personal data, where the BMI index belongs to this category. Therefore, this study requires a sign of consent agreement with the participants to avoid any ethical misunderstandings in the future.

Furthermore, obesity is also a human rights issue that should be addressed by proposing legislative resolutions. For instance, children with excessive weight are often mocked and discriminated against in society so that the appropriate law could enforce control over such biases. Another way to protect the human rights of obese people is to impose a special status on them, which could guarantee social benefits similar to those for people with disabilities.

It should also be noted that sometimes basic human rights are violated so that people do not have proper access to fresh water and food. That is why the corresponding legislative act needs to guarantee that obese people have equal access to healthy goods at appropriate prices.

Along with some ethical issues, this study has several limitations that should be analyzed and addressed. The first point concerns the type of medication treatment as each qualified physician prescribes different pharmacological drugs to each patient. Thus, it is not liable to compare children’s progress in beating obesity while they use various types of medication treatment (Grove, Gray, & Burns, 2015). Another limitation is associated with parental education and their level of preparedness. At the starting point of the study, parents should be differentiated based on their knowledge about healthy eating habits and lifestyles. Otherwise, it becomes difficult to estimate whether parents do not promote physical activities and healthy foods due to the lack of knowledge or motivation.

This study also conceals several implications for practical implementation. Firstly, not all parents have a chance to visit training sessions regularly and educational lessons on a healthy lifestyle because of their extensive working schedules and family duties. Skipping at least one seminar will negatively impact the holistic understanding of the problem. Second, each family culture is unique, so some principles might seem contradictory to them. Another implication assumes that some children and their parents might be deprived of appropriate healthy food supply or of a favorable physical environment in the area. All those factors put the effectiveness of the entire intervention at risk.

Various types of issues should be acknowledged and addressed in the research study. Thus, ethical considerations and human rights protection would be advocated. Furthermore, identification of limitations allows modifying the representation of educational programs for parents to make them more reachable and understandable. Finally, the implications for practical implementation highlight the importance of aligning the educational programs with the cultural values and physical environment of children and their families.

References

Azevedo, S. M., & Vartanian, L. R. (2015). Ethical issues for public health approaches to obesity. Current Obesity Reports, 4, 324-329.

Grove, S. K., Gray, J. R., & Burns, N. (2015). Understanding nursing research: Building an evidence-based practice (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

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