Obesity Among School-aged Native American Children in New Mexico This paper examines the epidemic of obesity and overweight among school-aged children in Native American communities in New Mexico. Obesity is a key public health issue in the contemporary American society, more so among the Native American communities. This essay explores various literatures about obesity in relation to the Native American communities. A closer look at most of the literary works on the topic reveals that obesity is a multi-faceted issue that needs a holistic solution that brings together different players at local, state, and national levels. The essay describes the Native American community in New Mexico in terms of its similarities and diversity in the wider American society. The paper also provides a variety of causes and reasons for the obesity epidemic among Native American young children. Finally, the paper suggests several intervention measures that can be implemented to abate the current obesity problem. Different stakeholders, including community and public health practitioners, need to come together with other state agencies to provide early interventions and treatment measures.Key words: Obesity, Native American community, New MexicoObesity Among School-aged Native American Children in New MexicoIntroductionObesity among children is a significant health challenge in the US. According to the National Center for Health statistics (2009), the number of children suffering from obesity has more than doubled since 1980.According to the healthy people 2020 report (2014), the focus of improving the quality of life should be towards eradicating chronic diseases such as obesity. This paper discusses several multifaceted causes and solutions to eradicate this pervasive health problem. Childhood obesity in the US has hit epidemic proportions, putting children at risk for preventable chronic and acute medical complications. Children depend on adults around them in order to recognize several health hazards in their environment and respond to their health needs appropriately. The children go through several changes physically and emotionally as they continue to grow and develop (Healthy Kids New Mexico, 2014). This makes them a very vulnerable group, which requires great attention in order to be able to access better treatment and preventive measures. The changes they go through can predispose children to various health problems as well as affecting their social relationships with people around them.Most of the health problems resulting from obesity are associated with increased mortality and morbidity. Obesity also has a tremendous impact on the psychological development of school-aged children since it affects their self-esteem. The children are probable to suffer from depression and have a deplorable life. Obese children also have the risk of developing respiratory diseases, high cholesterol, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and other orthopedic problems. Type2 diabetes, for instance is very prevalent among Native American communities and other minority races such as the African Americans and Hispanics. Hospital costs for treating childhood obesity are estimated to be within the range of $120-130 million annually. This is considerably high given the fact that in the early 1980s, total annual expenditure on childhood obesity was $35 million.While the situation is bad across all American communities, it is worse among Native American communities. In New Mexico, specifically, Native Americans account for less that 10% of the total population. However, an astonishing 49% of Native American school going children in New Mexico has been diagnosed with obesity (New Mexico Department of Health, 2012). This health problem is very widespread across the state. While most of the school-going children among all Native American communities in the state are affected by the problem, it is also worth noting the similarities and diversity that these communities have. Native Americans in New Mexico comprise of about 22 tribes, 19 pueblos and two reservations (Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2007). This implies that it is a highly diversified community with cultural and linguistic differences (Racheramp.Annis, 2007). Different communities within the wider have different ways of life. however, several similarities cut across all Native American communities. The similarities include religious beliefs, health risks, art, and strong ties to the natural realm. This paper will focus on analyzing the community’s health in general as well as the various issues that revolve around obesity in school-aged children. The paper will mostly study school-going children from kindergarten to 5th grade among the Native American community in New Mexico.ReferencesHealthy Kids New Mexico. (2014). Healthy Kids New Mexico. Retrieved July 4, 2014, from http://archive.healthykidsnm.org/Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.(2007). The 19 pueblos of New Mexico.Retrieved on July 3, 2014 fromhttp://indianpueblo.org/New Mexico Department of Health. (2014). Complete Indicator Profile of New Mexico PopulationDemographics: Race/Ethnicity. Retrieved on May 7, 2014 from http://ibis.health.state.nm.us/Racher, F., amp.Annis, R. (2007). Respecting culture and honoring diversity in community practice. Research amp. Theory For Nursing Practice, 21(4), 255-270.