School-based weight management programs may be effective

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Washington, March 4 (ANI): A new American study suggests that a school-based weight-management program can be very useful in reaching large numbers of kids.

Researchers Craig A. Johnston, John P. Foreyt and Chermaine Tyler and their team is building upon one of their previous studies in which many of their Texas middle-school participants has been successful with managing their weight. The volunteers were mainly Hispanic children who were either overweight or at risk of becoming so.

The researchers are with the ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, where Johnston and Tyler are instructors in nutrition and Foreyt is a professor of medicine.

Statistics that the researchers reported for the 6-month study were based on 57 overweight kids who were given either a self- and parent-taught program or an intensive, instructor-led regimen.

For example, kids in the self-taught group spent time in study hall every week for the first 3 months of the investigation, reading a self-help, weight-management textbook for youngsters. Meanwhile, their peers in the instructor-led team spent four class periods a week outdoors, improving their physical fitness, with a fifth session each week-indoors-learning about nutrition, healthy eating, and behaviour-change skills essential for living an active lifestyle and making healthful food choices.

When appraised at the end of the 6-month study, kids in the intensive, instructor-led course showed significantly greater weight loss as well as greater "physical quality of life" than the kids in the self-taught program. The quality of life was measured by their answers to a standard questionnaire.

Also, one and two years later, youngsters in the instructor-led team had significantly greater decreases in their body mass index, or BMI, than their self-taught counterparts.

According to scientists, these results suggest that a school-based weight-management program might be effective in reaching large numbers of kids.

The findings of the research have appeared in the journal Obesity in 2009 and in Pediatrics in 2007. (ANI)

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