Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Changing school environment curbs weight gain in children

08.04.2008
Study finds school-based intervention reduces incidence of overweight by half

Small changes in schools lead to big results when it comes to preventing childhood obesity, according to a study published in the April issue of Pediatrics. The school-based intervention, which reduced the incidence of overweight by 50 percent, offers a potential means of preventing childhood weight gain and obesity on a large scale.

“The increasing prevalence and serious consequences of childhood obesity have pushed us to find solutions that go beyond the clinic and reach greater numbers of children,” said lead author Gary Foster, Ph.D., director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University. “We focused on school because children spend most of their lives there and eat at least one if not two meals there.”

The two-year study was conducted in 10 K-8 Philadelphia schools. Half the schools implemented a multi-faceted nutrition policy, including social marketing and family outreach, which was developed by The Food Trust, a non-profit organization committed to ensuring that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food.

“We incorporated healthy eating into every part of the school day in order to have a greater impact on the students,” said Sandy Sherman, Ed.D., director of nutrition education at The Food Trust. “The intervention fundamentally changed the school environment.”

The other five schools served as a comparison. The study focused on 1,349 students in grades 4 through 6, and followed them for a two-year period, measuring weight, height and physical activity before and after.

The intervention, also called the School Nutrition Policy Initiative, included the following components: school self-assessment, nutrition education, nutrition policy, social marketing and parent outreach.

“Every member of the school community worked together to create a healthier environment,” said Sherman.

Nutrition policy

Soda was replaced with water, 100 percent fruit juice and low-fat milk. Snacks were capped at 7 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 360 milligrams of sodium and 15 grams of sugar per serving. Candy was eliminated from the school premises.

Nutrition education

Teachers received 10 hours of training in teaching nutrition, and students received 50 hours of nutrition education over the course of the year.

Social marketing

Kids were rewarded for healthy snacking and encouraged to save their appetites for healthy meals. Nutritious snacks and drinks earned them raffle tickets to win prizes.

Family outreach

Nutrition educators encouraged parents and students to purchase healthy snacks. Students were challenged to be less sedentary and more physically active, and to eat more fruits and vegetables.

For details on the School Nutrition Policy Initiative, go to www.thefoodtrust.org/php/programs/comp.school.nutrition.php

Only 7.5 percent of children became overweight in intervention schools, compared with 15 percent of children who became overweight in comparison schools. The intervention was even more effective in African American students, who were less likely to be overweight than those in the comparison schools after two years.

The results are particularly interesting for urban schools, where rates of childhood obesity are disproportionately higher than in suburban areas and greatly affected by the surrounding environment.

“In some inner-city neighborhoods, it’s safer to stay inside after school than to go outside and play. When money is tight, it’s cheaper to feed your kids convenience foods, which are usually higher in fat and calories. Multiple environmental factors are responsible for the childhood obesity epidemic,” said Foster.

Despite the success of the interventions, the fact that 7.5 percent of children in School Nutrition Policy Initiative schools still gained weight over the two-year period suggests that stronger or additional interventions are needed, such as more time spent on physical education, more aggressive nutrition policies, and interventions that target the environment outside of schools.

The researchers also recommend that prevention programs begin even earlier than 4th grade, as the prevalence of overweight children (BMI above the 85th percentile) in grades 4 through 6 is already high at 41.7 percent.

Temple and The Food Trust are currently working together on a corner store initiative, designed to improve the nutrition of food and snacks for sale at neighborhood stores.

Renee Cree | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.temple.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists discover species of dolphin that existed along South Carolina coast

24.08.2017 | Life Sciences

The science of fluoride flipping

24.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Optimizing therapy planning for cancers of the liver

24.08.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>