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School Diet Program Reduced Overweight School Kids

A two-year experiment in five elementary schools in Philadelphia reduced obesity in kids.
And here`s how they did it:

? Sodas were replaced with fruit juices, water and low-fat milk.

? Snacks were scaled back in terms of fat, salt and sugar content.

? Candy was completely out.

? Raffle tickets for wise food choices were given out.

? Kids were encouraged to do exercise at activity stations during recess.

? Kids, parents, and teachers were given extra lessons about good nutrition.

The experiment included 1,349 pupils in grades four to six, 40% of which were overweight or obese at the start of the study. These pupils` weights were monitored and their food and exercise data were recorded. The diet changes were made to the food in vending machines and the school cafeteria.

Their results: The number of kids who gained excess weight in experimental schools dropped and was only about half compared to kids in schools with unaltered diet programs.

The results indicate school-mediated change in diet as well as physical activities seem to help mitigate obesity in children. However, such a program alone cannot fully resolve this rather ever-increasing problem. Despite the diet change, there were still plenty of newly recorded overweight kids in the five schools. True, it was less than in other schools with unaltered diets – 7 % vs 15 % – but 7% overweight kids is 7% too many.

The researchers suggest that such diet programs should start earlier and gym classes should be integrated. Furthermore, food sources outside school ? at home!!! ? should also be taken into account.


MSNBC, 7 April 2008

Related articles and posts on children obesity:

Balanced & Healthy Eating for Toddlers

Skipping Breakfast can make Teens Obese

Preventing Obesity in Young Children

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