Obesity in Children

This course is not being offered in the Summer and Fall 2014 semesters.

It is no secret that obesity is exacting a critical toll on the American population, children included. Statistics tell us that nearly 20 percent of America's children are overweight or obese, with some school districts reporting figures as high as 70 percent. As a result, even very young children are increasingly exhibiting formerly adult-only diseases such as Diabetes Type 2, high cholesterol and various heart/vascular disorders.

Before treating the problem, the professional social worker or mental health worker needs to recognize the complex factors that converge to cause the current epidemic of obesity. These include cultural influences, the pernicious impact of a sedentary lifestyle, extreme attitudes toward snacking, the compelling nature of commercials and advertisements, and of course, an expectant mother’s food choices, the influence of the family and friends (even the school) on food choice, the availability of healthy and affordable foods in the neighborhood, and the children’s own developing food attitudes and behaviors as they grow up in an environment marked by media manipulation and social networking.

This course facilitates an understanding of Childhood Obesity for anyone concerned with child health and education. Practitioners learn through discussion the definitions of obesity, as well as the relevant statistics, prevalence, contributors, complications, prevention, and treatment. The curriculum is divided into a module on understanding the phenomenon of childhood obesity, a second module on prevention and a final module on treatment modalities. Please note that the course is designed primarily for the social worker, social services providers, mental health providers, educators, and other professionals who work with children who may be at risk or show signs of obesity.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss general obesity prevalence
  • Define overweight and obesity of children in relation to Body Mass Index
  • Identify contributors of childhood obesity
  • Identify physical, psychosocial, and environmental complications of childhood obesity
  • Compare and Contrast Prevention Options
  • Compare and Contrast Treatment Options

Participants are required to complete reading assignments and participate in three online discussion forums on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. In addition, participants are required to finish an online 80-question post-test comprising multiple-choice and short-answer questions. In order to receive 15 Approved CEUs from the National Association of Social Workers (see below), participants must receive a score of 80% or higher Even if a student is not interested in the CEUs, a record of successful completion may be important in the following instances:

  • Participants may receive tuition reimbursement from employers or other sources only when they successfully complete the course.
  • Participants may wish to apply the course to a certificate program, either now or in the future. No course can be counted towards a certificate program unless the participant has successfully completed it.
  • Some participants may wish to apply their non-credit experience to a degree program. Though not always possible, a few schools provide this avenue. A record of successful completion would be necessary to take advantage of this pathway.

*NASW has approval from more than 38 state licensure boards without restrictions. However, participants are responsible for following their state's rules and regulations regarding licensure.