School-based approaches for preventing and treating obesity.
Schools have the potential to make valuable contributions to both the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. This article reviews the research on school-based interventions to prevent and treat obesity. A literature search from 1965 to the present on school-based treatment of obesity, identified 11 controlled experimental studies. The results show positive, though modest short-term results. Relatively few primary prevention research studies, targeted specifically to preventing obesity, have been conducted. Therefore, efficacy has not been established. Both primary and secondary obesity interventions have a role in schools. A comprehensive, integrated model for school-based obesity prevention is presented. This model, building upon the comprehensive school health program model, consists of eight interacting components: health instruction; health services; school environment; food service; school-site health promotion for faculty and staff; social support services; physical education classes; and integrated and linked family and community health promotion efforts. While multi-faceted community-wide efforts are needed to address the growing problem of obesity, schools are in a unique position to play a pivotal role in promoting healthy lifestyles and helping to prevent obesity.
Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord
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