Health and Wellness of Children

An Occupational Therapy Perspective

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Childhood obesity is definitely an area of concern in America. The rates have continued to grow in the last thirty years. In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were classified as overweight and obese. Eighteen percent of kids between the ages of six and eleven in United States are overweight or obese (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm). In Massachusetts, 16.3 percent of children are identified as overweight or obese (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html). Childhood obesity raises the potential for an increase in additional health problems, including high blood pressure and cholesterol, which heightens the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. Other related health threats of obesity consist of diabetes, breathing issues, joint problems, and also difficulty with social and psychological struggles. If a child is overweight, they have more than a ninety percent chance of being overweight/ obese as an adult (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/basics.html).

"Occupational therapy practitioners apply their knowledge about engagement in occupation to help clients who may be experiencing disease, impairment, disability, dissastisfaction, or adverse circumstances to participate in their daily life in a manner that supports their health and well-being. By working with clients from this perspective, occupational therapy practitioners use everyday life activities therapeutically to improve the health and quality of life of consumers and to prevent future disease or illness" (AOTA, 2002, p. 610).

Occupational therapists offer a unique perspective to promote the health and wellness of children. They have the skill set to assist children and families to develop healthier food choices and encourage exercise. Practitioners can work with the children to determine their preferred leisure activities, as well as, providing education about smart snack and meal choices. Occupational therapists can ultimately create an individualized and satisfying intervention program to maximize the success of their clients.
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American Occupational Therapy Association. (2002). Occupational therapy

practice framework: Domain and process. American Journal of

Occupational Therapy, 56, 609–639.