Of those children who have asthma, a large proportion of them are considered overweight when compared with peer groups. Type II diabetes has become more prevalent in children, mostly due to the obesity epidemic in America. Prior to 1992, childhood obesity contributed to only two to four percent. In 1994, that number had risen to sixteen percent. Obese children have a 12.6 times greater risk of having a high fasting blood insulin level, which is a factor for type II diabetes. High blood pressure, called hypertension, is also on the rise in children. There is a nine times greater risk of elevated blood pressure occurring persistently in obese children than in non-obese children. In addition, obese children and adolescents are 2.4 times more likely to have a high diastolic blood pressure reading and 4.5 times more likely to have an elevated systolic blood pressure reading than non-obese children. Orthopedic complications are another negative aspect of childhood obesity. These complications are due to the fact that the growing bones and cartilage of growing children are not yet strong enough to support excess weight (Obesity in Youth, 2005).
The psychosocial effects are just as important as the physical consequences of obesity. White girls, who are more likely to develop a negative body image, are greatly impacted by childhood obesity. These girls are then at a greater risk for the development of eating disorders later in life. Adolescent females report stigmatizing consequences of being obese. These include weight-related teasing by peers, name calling, and harmful comments by family members, coworkers, peers, and friends. Children and adolescents also report that others make negative assumptions about them due to their weight. These assumptions include that they are lazy, inactive, tough, and unclean (Collins, 2005).
After-school exercise programs are becoming more popular throughout America. These programs are an excellent way for children to become more active and learn lifetime fitness skills. At one school in Virginia, students not only exercise and eat healthy snacks, they learn lifetime fitness skills such as calculating heart rate and using a pedometer to track their daily steps. Staff members are also involved in the program. Since the implementation of the program, one hundred students have become involved and staff members have lost a total of five hundred pounds (Glod, 2005). These positive results, combined with the growing prevalence of childhood obesity, clearly indicate the need for an after-school program in this district.
Proposed Program Description
The proposed program will have several components related to exercise participation, healthy eating, health education, and family and staff participation. The exercise component of the program will focus on cardiovascular wellness and incorporate aerobic exercises as well as strength-training activities. These activities can include walking, jogging, working with an exercise ball, using a rock climbing wall, calisthenics, isometric exercises, and working with free weights.
Healthy eating will also play an important role in the after-school exercise program. The snacks that are provided will be low in sugar, fat, cholesterol, and sodium and will be of good nutritional value for the participants. These snacks can include fresh fruits,