Community-based program involving parents helps kids lose weight

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A new weight-loss program for kids has shown promising results and we re pleased to note that the program did not involve reducing the participants dietary levels of BPA. In fact, as Dr. Whelan observes, the pilot program for kids relied on entirely rational methods.

For the study, published in Pediatrics, scientists at Temple University s Center for Obesity Research and Education tracked 155 obese and overweight children, average age 11, who took part in a weight-management program over the course of six months. The program required that children and their parents attend 12 group sessions with a trained facilitator, combined with 12 at-home sessions designed to teach kids to evaluate their progress and set new goals with the help of their parents.

Much of the program involved children learning to take charge of their own behaviors, such as limiting empty-calorie foods and choosing healthier alternatives, limiting the time spent in front of the computer or TV, being physically active, and getting enough sleep. The kids also learned how to track their adherence to these guidelines.

By the end of the six months, there were 10 percent fewer obese children in the program. The researchers are pleased with the results, especially since one aim of the study was to look at the efficacy of a community based weight-loss program that would be more widely accessible than more expensive clinic-based treatments.

ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava was impressed with both the methods and outcome. The fact that the program involves the parents is crucial, she says. We know that obese kids are setting themselves up for even more serious problems as adults, but it s very hard for a child to make the necessary behavioral changes unless they have an adult to help.