Increased awareness behind child obesity reduction

15 August 2011

Improved public awareness on obesity could be decreasing the need for weight loss surgery in later generations as research found falling Body Mass Index (BMI) readings in children.

In the HEALTHY study for the American bimonthly journal Childhood Obesity, children's BMI ratings fell in subjects exposed to an intervention strategy of nutritional and health information as well as changes in their physical exercise and eating routines.

However, the control group of children, who did not undergo any such strategy, also recorded lower readings in their overall BMI, suggesting wider societal factors were having a positive impact on weight.

News on weight trends in children "has been all bad for a long time," commented Dr David L Katz, editor-in-chief of the Childhood Obesity journal and Director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center.

He added: "This study suggests that an aggregation of awareness, policies and programmes may be starting to change that."

Sue Baic, a nutrition specialist at Bristol University, welcomed attempts to decrease a child's weight and improve their health but cautioned against being deceptive when introducing better foods to youngsters.

If deceptively added, children "don't learn to enjoy [vegetables] themselves", she advised.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1 Kaufman, Francine, et al. "Effect of Secular Trends on a Primary Prevention Trial: The HEALTHY Study Experience". Childhood Obesity. August 2011

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