Teaching children to read food labels and choose healthier options contributed to “significant” weight loss during a two-year government-funded study.
The school-based weight management program, funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), involved nutrition and exercise classes, as well as guidance for the practical application of these lessons.
Researchers from USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital compared two groups of overweight and obese Mexican-American students between the ages of 10 and 14. Children were encouraged to keep track of foods they ate and to read food labels. A control group who did not receive the intervention were studied as a comparison.
“Those who participated in the intervention program showed greater improvements in body composition and benefits with respect to total cholesterol than those in the control group. Students in the intervention program showed improvements in their body mass index after year one and year two,” stated the researchers.
Effects of a School-based Weight Maintenance Program for Mexican-American Children: Results at 2 Years
Obesity (2009) doi:10.1038/oby.2009.241