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1.1 Background of the Study

Obesity which was majorly associated with adults in the past unfortunately becomes one of the major health challenges now faced by children. Hence it is now referred to as child obesity. Child obesity can simply be defined as’ a state of being excessively fat or over weight. A lot of reasons have been given by several researchers like center for disease control and prevention in (2012) as to why obesity has persistent in the world and especially in West African sub region. The Chief among these reasons are the influence of the feeding philosophy or pattern of parents. For the purpose of this study, the researcher intends to evaluate the perceived effect of parental feeding pattern on childhood obesity. Therefore this study is guided by the following objectives

Obesity is now a major health challenge among children. Outcomes associated with obesity in adults are now affecting children. The prevalence of overweight status has tripled worldwide in the last 2 to 3 decades, including in developing countries like Nigeria and regions that are increasingly urbanized (Lobstein, Baur, and Uauy. 2004). An international obesity task force (IOTF) analysis has shown that overweight and obesity affects one in 10 children in the world today, but the rate is almost double in Europe and three times as great across the entire American continent (IOTF, 2003). Over nutrition is a growing problem in segments of sub-Saharan African society, particularly where lifestyles become urbanized and westernized and data have accumulated on the adverse health effects of obesity in advanced and developing countries. (WHO, 2004). Increased risk for diabetes, dyslipidemia, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and hypertension, high blood cholesterol concentration, stroke, certain cancers and arthritis have been reported to be associated with childhood obesity (Vander, Ceesay, Milligan, Banya, and Walraven 2006). Obesity in children and adolescence has adverse effect on premature mortality and physical morbidity in adulthood (Reilly & Kelly, 2011) and is associated with impaired health during childhood itself. Once obesity is established in children (as in adults) it is hard to reverse (De Onis and Lobstein, 2010).

In 2010, 43 million children (35 million in developing nations) were estimated to be overweight and obese; 92 million were at risk of being overweight. The worldwide prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity increased from 4.2% in 1990 to 6.7% in 2010. This trend is expected to reach 9.1%, or ’60 million, in 2020. The estimated prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity in Africa in 2010 was 8.5% and is expected to reach 12.7% in 2020. The prevalence is lower in Asia than in Africa (4.9% in 2010), but the number of affected children (18 million) is higher in Asia declared De Onis and Lobstein (2010). Modern dietary patterns and physical activity patterns are risk behaviors that travel across countries and are transferable from one population to another like an infectious disease, affecting disease patterns globally. While age, sex and genetic susceptibility are non-modifiable, many of the risks associated with age and sex are modifiable. Such risks include behavioral factors (e.g. diet, physical inactivity); biological factors (e.g. dyslipidemia, hypertension, overweight) and finally societal factors which include a complex mixture of interacting socioeconomic, cultural and other environmental parameters (WHO, 2003). Furthermore, rapid changes in diets and lifestyles that have occurred with industrialization, urbanization, economic development and market globalization have accelerated over the past decade. This is having a significant impact on the health and nutritional status of populations, particularly in developing or third world nations. While standards of living have improved, food availability has expanded and become more diversified, and access to services has equally increased, there have also been significant negative effects in terms of inappropriate dietary patterns, decreased physical activities and a corresponding increase in diet-related chronic diseases, especially among poor people (WHO, 2003).

Overtime, obesity has been associated with excessive feeding and lack of adequate digestion which eventually leads to excessive fat being stored up in the belly and other fat storage areas of the human body.

Since the pattern of feeding can be said to influence obesity in both adults and children, parents do have leading roles to play in either encouraging or reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity, undoubtedly most children who are obese are under the parental guide age, hence it can be said that the recent cases of obesity may not be unconnected to the feeding habit of their parents or guardians. The feeding pattern of parents may actually have a devastating effect on their children as children are generally known to be dependent on their parents for food shelter and clothing, this view hence propel the researcher’s thought of evaluating the perceived effect of parental feeding pattern on childhood obesity.

1.2. Statement of Problem

The menace of infant mortality in the sub Saharan African and Nigeria especially has been a cause for serious concern. Child hood obesity has over the years been a breeding ground for other diseases and health challenges like cardiovascular or heart related health challenges in children which has led to the increase of child or adolescent mortality and thus led to the depletion of the future generation which could in the future affect the productive capacity of the country.

In Nigeria today, many children who are obese are at risk of being isolated in the society, making them unhappy and withdrawn. This has most times contributed to the poor academic performance of such children. It has also affected their social relationship as they find it difficult to freely associate or relate with their contemporaries.


1.3. Objectives of the Study

The researcher intends to evaluate parental feeding pattern as a determinant for child obesity.  Therefore this study is guided by the following objectives

  1. To determine the parental feeding pattern of the children with obesity.
  2. Identify the perceived effect of the parental feeding.
  3. To assess the relationship between childhood obesity and academic performance.


1.4. Research Questions

The following research questions would guide us in undertaking this study.

  1. What is the relationship between parental feeding pattern and childhood obesity?
  2.  Is there a relationship between childhood obesity and academic performance
  3. What is the actual feeding pattern of parents who have obese children?

1.5. Research Hypotheses

Hypothesis 1

H0: There is no significant relationship between parental feeding pattern and childhood obesity.

Hi: There is a significant relationship between parental feeding pattern and childhood obesity

Hypothesis 2

H0: There is no significant relationship between childhood obesity and academic performance.

Hi: There is a significant relationship between childhood obesity and academic performance.

1.6. Significance of the Study

This study seeks to examine parental feeding pattern as a determinant of child obesity. Another significance of this study is to educate parents and guardians on the negative consequences of obesity in children and at the same time recommend ways of preventing obesity in children. This study would be immense benefit to the health sector and researchers who are interested in childhood obesity in Nigeria.

1.7. Scope of the Study

This study is the perceived effect of parental feeding pattern on childhood obesity in ikenne local government. Due to the time factors that may be needed in this study the researcher is compelled to limit its focus to just two towns in ikenne local government that is Ilishan Remo and Irolu Remo. This study will adopt a descriptive survey research design, and also using questionnaires in addition to library research would be used in collecting existing data. Hence the collected data would be analyzed using the correlation statistical method.  The sample size of this study would be 50 parents residing within Ilishan Remo and Ikenne Remo that there child attended private primary school. This study is restricted to the perceived effect of parental feeding pattern on childhood obesity in ikenne local government.    

1.8. Operational Definition of Terms:

Obesity: Obesity is a condition that is associated with having an excess of body fat, defined by genetic and environmental factors that are difficult to control when dieting. Obesity is classified as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater.

Parental feeding pattern: this is a particular way a parent feed or gives food to his or her child. It can also be said that, is an example the parent give to the child. Like if the mothers eat bread every morning the child will grow into eating bread in the morning that a feeding pattern the mother gave to the child.

Childhood: the state of being a child. The time of a child life that is between infancy and puberty.