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Childhood Obesity Drops Among Health Program Participants — an article on the Smart Living Network
December 1, 2010 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Childhood Obesity Drops Among Health Program Participants

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In an effort to reverse the damaging effects of childhood obesity, many people have suggested further health education programs. The initiatives would be designed to show kids the benefits of eating nutritious foods and participating in regular physical exercise. So far, the results have been less than expected, though there is a hint of good news, at least from one study.

Childhood Obesity Study

Based on recent estimates, the effects of obesity are reaching children at a steady rate in the United States. The statistics for childhood obesity cases have quadrupled in the past 40 years. No matter how the issue is spun, those numbers aren't good for anyone.

Some people believe that extra regulations on school programs and lunch menus will reduce the number of children that are considered obese. Others disagree, maintaining that parents are responsible for what their kids eat. A recent study seems to point toward a potential answer.

A study looked at over 4,500 students in the sixth grade. Half of whom participated in a program that encouraged healthy behavior by adding more physical fitness and making the cafeteria foods healthier. The other half did not participate in the program. When the students reached the eighth grade, their obesity was checked again. Both groups showed a drop in obesity, which started at 30 percent before the study. 24.6 percent of the health program participants were now obese, and 26.6 percent of the non-participants were obese. For both groups, the total percentage was 45 percent.

Study Variables

Because the study has revealed a slight improvement in obesity for the children, doctors are trying to figure out what exactly caused it. Perhaps the most significant part of the results is that the decline in obesity was present in both groups. This means that the actual effects of the health program could still be unknown.

With any research test, it is almost impossible to know everything about the participants, their diets, and their activities. Countless variables exist for possible explanations of the lowered obesity figures. However, the study does reflect that the children are moving in the right direction, with or without the health program regulations. The question is whether or not the results of this one study can be applied to the rest of the country.

Parents, teachers, and family physicians have been working on ways to keep children healthy in and out of school. Unfortunately, the new study is not enough to suggest a solution to the childhood obesity problem, but if it can inspire people to live healthier, any questions might be replaced with an increase in more positive future obesity statistics.

Conclusion

This study, which was completed for the National Institutes of Health, is an individual case with too many variables to interpret accurately, but it does give newspapers a headline in the continuing battle against obesity. There has been a lot of attention placed on the national issue, and it is essential that everyone remembers the real purpose of reducing childhood obesity is to help kids stay healthy throughout their lives.

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/health/research/13child.html?_r=2&ref=nutrition

http://health.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/05/05/fighting-childhood-obesity%E2%80%A6something-to-smile-about/

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2010/08/06/lauren-bush-fighting-american-childhood-obesity-world-hunger-time/

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