A school-based behavior modification, nutrition education, and physical activity program for obese children.
Sixty-three obese children, ages 5 to 12 yr, participated in a school-based program of behavior modification, nutrition education, and physical activity. The 10-wk program involved educating the children and those in the children's social network (parents, teachers, physical education instructor, food service personnel, school administrators, and the nurse's aide). Two methods were used to evaluate weight loss: the children were compared to a control group of obese children who did not receive the program, and the children in the program were used as their own controls by analyzing weight records for the 3 yr before the program. Sixty (95%) of the 63 children in the program lost weight, compared to only three (21%) of the 14 control children. The program children showed a mean decrease of 15.4% in their percentage overweight, and lost an average of 4.4 kg. These children also reversed the steady weight gain that had occurred before the program. These results suggest that a comprehensive program in the schools can produce significant weight losses, and that children left untreated tend to increase their degree of obesity.
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