A dynamic model for evaluating the effects of changes in eating and physical activity on childhood obesity

Abdin, NZ 2012, A dynamic model for evaluating the effects of changes in eating and physical activity on childhood obesity , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

Obesity is a term used to describe the condition of excess fat. It has many dangerous side effects for health and well-being. Knowing the negative impacts of obesity, this research attempts to demonstrate the contribution offered by system dynamics modelling with the model being used as an experimentation tool to investigate the combined impact of eating and physical activity behaviour on average weight, body mass index and the prevalence of obesity trends of the English child population aged 2 to 15 years. In an effort to uncover the most effective interventions to achieve desirable weight targets by 2020, this study considers how modifications in the forces which influence behaviour might be modelled at the population level; this is an emerging interest in the system dynamics community. This research combines different strands of knowledge from nutrition, physical activity, body metabolism and sociopsychological theory, synthesising this knowledge in a system dynamics model by highlighting the interrelations between these various strands in one complex human weight regulation system. The model offers unique insights into the dynamics by capturing the complex interdependencies from the stock and flow feedback structure, non-linear relationships and delays, all of which exist in the public health system surrounding obesity. The results from this research support previous studies in this area. However, this study also highlights causal explanations for the variability of the findings which had not been surfaced before. In respect of the baseline model it is assumed that the weight profile of the English child population was not particularly abnormal around forty years ago. However, with increases in energy-dense food consumption, especially from fat and outside meals, combined with reductions in physical activity and an increase in sedentary behaviour at the same time, the average weight, body mass index and obesity trends have increased dramatically, especially so since the 1990s. Findings from this research also provide insights that a combination of modifying food intake, reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing physical activity form the basis of the most effective interventions for obesity control in the English child population. This research also suggests a definite failure to achieve a reversion of 2020 obesity data to that observed in 2000. The model indicates that a much longer intervention period will be needed to significantly reduce overweight and obesity in this population. Governments and other public agencies need to carry out modelling studies before setting public health targets. Finally, this research also highlights parents' contribution to ameliorating childhood obesity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Dangerfield, B (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School
Funders: Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia, Universiti Utara Malaysia
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2021 12:50
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:56
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/61438

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