Topical issues related to public health have been actively discussed within the professional community. It is common knowledge that prevention is an instrument of paramount importance in terms of maintaining one’s well-being. Indeed, such an approach proves to be more effective than the cure, as it has the potential to eradicate the disease before it emerges. However, effective prevention is a complex process that requires active participation from all parties involved. In other words, not only healthcare professionals but the public as well should take active measures by following a specific set of recommendations. In order to enable such a process, people must be educated on possible detrimental effects and the ways of avoiding them. The teaching session described in the present report focused on the topical issue of childhood obesity. Its objective was to help children understand the repercussions of unhealthy eating habits and introduce effective prevention techniques. The purpose of this report is to describe the teaching experience in terms of its plan, rationale, effectiveness, and community response.
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Summary of the Teaching Plan
The proposed teaching plan aimed at introducing the importance of healthy eating habits to children between the ages of 6 and 11. Working with such an audience requires a particular approach, which would ensure proper attention throughout the session. Therefore, the teaching materials should be bright, convenient, and easily understood by an average-skilled child within the specified age group. However, despite the simplified presentation, all the data is based on credible research and relevant theoretical findings. The teaching session relies on the social cognitive model, which will allow children to adopt healthy eating patterns through proper self-motivation. According to Beauchamp, Crawford, and Jackson (2019), this theory “articulates the causal mechanisms through which efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, sociostructural factors, and goals influence behavior” (p. 110). In addition, this model provides participants with the required social support for their preventive efforts. Encouragement will serve as an additional source of motivation, showing children the benefits of healthy eating habits on both physical and mental levels.
Overall, the teaching process pursued the objective of preventing inappropriate weight gain among children aged 6-11. First of all, children saw colored pictures of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, which served as a reference for them. Second, the participants were introduced to the food, which causes the discussed issue. This set of pictures demonstrated high-calorie snacks and drinks, accelerating weight gain among children. Based on the comparison between the two types of food, the participants were asked to propose the potential means of alleviating the detrimental effect. Therefore, the third stage served to establish associations through pictures of children consuming healthy food. Finally, the effect of the previous stage was further strengthened by presenting photos showing people engaging in physical activities. This way, the participants were expected to acquire a deeper understanding of the positive correlation between one’s eating habits, physical shape, and health. The teaching session relied heavily on audial and visual materials, as these forms appear highly convenient for children of this age group. All stages of the plan encourage creativity, and the discussion is supported by a colorful pamphlets and posters.
Epidemiological Rationale for the Topic
The issue, which lies in the focus of attention of the present report, remains topical within the framework of public health. Weihrauch-Blüher and Wiegand (2018) write that the problem is global in nature, as many countries’ youth demonstrates a particular affection for unhealthy snacks and fast food. Generally, the worldwide prevalence of obesity has grown eightfold since 1975, which calls for immediate intervention (Weihrauch-Blüher & Wiegand, 2018). The issue remains particularly topical in the United States, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) report that one out of five children between the ages of six and nineteen are obese. While the majority of proposed measures focused on individual cases, Weihrauch-Blüher and Wiegand (2018) argue that substantial effort is required on the level of entire communities. Accordingly, public health workers should promote healthy ideas among people, focusing on the prevention of obesity. This idea justifies the proposed format of teaching to a group of individuals.
At the same time, the study focused on children aged 6-11 for two main reasons. First of all, people of this age group are particularly susceptible to external influence, making it easier to promote healthy ideas among them. Their mindsets are not completely formed, as they continue to discover different aspects of the world. If children are exposed to positive ideas and associations, they will be more likely to maintain a healthier lifestyle during their adulthood. The lack of proper attention to obesity and eating habits during childhood may entail dire consequences afterward. According to Umer et al. (2017), research reveals a correlation between childhood obesity and adult cardiovascular conditions. It is likely that unhealthy eating patterns and inappropriate weight gain among children will become significant risk factors in the following years. Therefore, the discussed issue affects the entire sphere of public health, and earlier interventions have the potential to improve the quality of a person’s life.
Evaluation of the Teaching Experience
Once the teaching session was held, it was possible to analyze and evaluate its outcome. First, it was essential to ensure that the children have retained enough information following the experience. They were asked to name several examples of healthy food, and then, on the contrary, the objective was to list products that consumption of which can result in inappropriate weight gain. The results of this activity were above satisfactory, as the vast majority of participants were clearly able to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy food. Following this differentiation, the children were asked to propose some ways in which obesity can be prevented. All of the answers comprised the notion of healthy eating habits, and most of them mentioned physical exercises, as well. In addition, children were able to fathom the role of physical activity, combined with maintaining a healthy diet. Accordingly, goal evaluation suggests that the teaching session was successful, as children clearly understood the detrimental impact of obesity and memorized the ways of its prevention. Overall, the results appear promising, as it is possible to expand the program in order to encompass entire communities and educate children of different backgrounds on the importance of obesity prevention.
Community Response to Teaching
Community response is an essential component of teaching, as it determines the outcome of the process in many ways. If the participants endorse the proposed initiative, they form positive impressions of the overall procedure. Consequently, they become more open to the ideas, which are shared with them. On the contrary, if people feel doubtful about the program’s effectiveness or even its very basis, they become closed to positive influence. Furthermore, teaching is a bilateral process, and the learner must make sufficient effort along with the instructor. In the case of the described teaching session, the community, comprising the children and their parents, had a mostly positive response to the initiative. Children demonstrated a sincere interest in the subject and willingly participated in the session, even continuing to discuss it afterward. Apparently, they found the format of colorful audiovisual presentations enticing, which helped them understand the primary ideas. At the same time, there was a substantial amount of behind-the-scenes work with their parents. Adults are less fascinated with colors and images, which is why it was necessary to provide them with factual evidence, confirming the teaching session’s statements.
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Areas of Strengths and Improvement
Having completed and evaluated the teaching session, it is possible to determine its particular strengths and improvement opportunities. In fact, the program was tailored specifically for young children, which had its positive and negative implications. The format of the presentation is its evident strength, as the participants were interested in colorful images and clear explanations. Therefore, the level of children’s engagement in the process was considerable, improving the outcome of the teaching session. At the same time, this format lacks interaction with parents. Adults are not easily impressed by pictures and pamphlets, which is why some of them may have felt excluded from the process. The level of adult engagement serves as the primary area in which the program requires improvement. Despite the children’s interest in the teaching process, parents remain their primary role models in the vast majority of cases. Accordingly, increasing the degree of adult engagement will be the key area of improvement for the future development of the discussed initiative.
In conclusion, the issue of childhood obesity remains topical in the United States and globally, as research provides evidence of its lifelong detrimental impact. The teaching experience was mostly positive, as children appear to have understood the problem and the potential means of its resolution. The evaluation suggests considerable improvement, but the work must continue on a larger scale and with greater scope in order to provide quality improvements on a more profound level. This way, the entire sphere of public health will benefit, along with millions of people.
Beauchamp, M. R., Crawford, K. L., & Jackson, B. (2019). Social cognitive theory and physical activity: Mechanisms of behavior change, critique, and legacy. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 42, 110–117. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Childhood obesity acts. Web.
Umer, A., Kelley, G. A., Cottrell, L. E., Giacobbi Jr, P., Innes, K. E., & Lilly, K. E. (2017). Childhood obesity and adult cardiovascular disease risk factors: A systematic review with meta-analysis. BMC Public Health, 17, 1-24. Web.
Weihrauch-Blüher, S., & Wiegand, S. (2018). Risk factors and implications of childhood obesity. Current Obesity Reports, 7, 254–259. Web.