According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are over 75 million adults with obesity in the US. However it is not just adults who are affected by the growing rates of obesity, but children, too. Alarming rates of both overweight and obesity have been observed in children as young as preschoolers. What can be done to curb the growth of childhood obesity?
While school-based programs promoting healthy eating and physical activity have had some effect, it’s been unclear how to best involve the children’s parents. One recent study was designed to address this issue. Swedish researchers launched a program to support parents in their attempts to promote good dietary habits and physical activity in their preschool children.They found that in their intervention program, there was a significant reduction in the consumption of unhealthy food and drinks (such as snacks, ice cream, biscuits, sweets, soft drinks, flavored milk and fruit juice). Children with obesity at the start of the program also had a reduction in body mass index (BMI). During the six months of the program, the parents in the intervention group received health information to read and two motivational interviews. During class, several classroom activities were performed with the children, who received assignments to complete at home with their parents.
With childhood obesity now affecting millions of children in the United States, experiments such as this make an important contribution to the further development of evidence-based programs promoting healthy eating, physical activity and preventing obesity in children. Our team of obesity experts at CHI Memorial Metabolic and Bariatric Care believes that preventing obesity, not just treating it, is a key factor in curbing the epidemic.