I have recently completed research on this topic as it is close to my heart and something I am so passionate about. My findings are compiled here in a research paper, it may be a little lengthy, but I promise it's worth the read and incredibly eye opening! I would love to hear from you on this topic!
By: Carolyn Meyer
The CDC reports that the overall trend in childhood obesity has remained 'stable' at 17% from years 2001 to 2014 (CDC, 2017). Overall, that statement sounds promising, right? Well, let's look at what seventeen percent of the U.S. child and adolescent population really looks like. That, what initially may seem somewhat small percentage, equals out to be about 12.7 million children and adolescents from the ages of 2-19 years (CDC, 2017). Almost thirteen million children are still classified as being obese! These are alarming numbers to say the least. The fact that the numbers are trending downward is a good sign, but how can this number continue to decrease for our young people in not only this country, but all over the world? With such advances in medicine and education, these great statistics should be lower. This paper examines multiple studies completed to test interventions related specifically to diet, physical activity, education around both and the effects on children that are exposed to those interventions.
The Great Child Trial emphasized and tested how whole grains specifically could help manage child obesity. The interventions included thirty minutes sessions on nutrition education as well as implementation of whole grains into all school meals for a total of twelve weeks. There was both a control and intervention group. The group exposed to the interventions showed a significantly lower BAZ, body fat percentage and waist circumference. Amazingly, those changes even continued and improved nine months after the interventions (The Great Child Trial).
The second article, A Community-Based Nutrition and Physical Activity Intervention for Children Who Are Overweight or Obese and Their Caregivers, observed children and their caregivers, that were specifically referred by their physicians, for a sixteen-week study. During the study, the children and caregivers both, were exposed to weekly nutrition education and physical activity sessions. The results showed that sixty-five out of ninety-seven exposed to these interventions had a lower BMZ two years after the interventions! Along with that, results also showed those exposed had an overall lower weight, lower saturated fat, lower sodium and carbohydrate intake as well increased core strength and endurance.
The School Based Multi-Component Intervention viewed four schools total, two as controls and two exposed to various interventions. This study viewed a total of four hundred fifty-three students in grades fourth and fifth. Intervention groups were exposed to nutrition education, diet, physical activity, food environments and life skills courses within the schools of these children. Results from this study showed lower cholesterol, increased HDL, lower overall bodyweight and reduced consumption of high calorie snacks and fast food. Increased physical activity as well as increased vegetable consumption were also shown in the students exposed to the interventions.
All of the studies listed above show that those exposed to interventions, show a significant change for the better. That is shown not only by immediate results of the studies, but long-term effects as well. All studies provided both education to nutrition and physical activity and show that the combination can lead to positive results across the board. According to Renew Bariatrics, "obese ten-year old children who continue to gain weight through adulthood have lifetime medications costs that are nineteen thousand dollars higher compared to healthy ten-year olds" (https://renewbariatrics.com/childhood-obesity/). This simply shows that childhood obesity is not something to be brushed aside. The facts of children being significantly overweight causes lifetime complications and costs. In 2017 alone, almost fourteen percent of American high school students are considered obese and another sixteen percent considered overweight (https://renewbariatrics.com/childhood-obesity/). Those two numbers alone equal almost one third of our population of children here in America, that is an outstanding number that just does not have to be.
These three articles alone, prove that interventions, simple changes, and education can make a great difference for these children and their lives. Childhood obesity does not have to continue at the high rate that it has been. Through education on nutrition and physical activity in schools, with parents, and caregivers, can and will make a difference to make our youth healthier, with less preventable disease and live longer, better lives.
The Great-Child™ Trial: A Quasi-Experimental Intervention on Whole Grains with Healthy Balanced Diet to Manage Childhood Obesity in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Koo HC, Poh BK, Abd Talib R.
Nutrients. 2018 Jan 30;10(2). pii: E156. doi: 10.3390/nu10020156
A Community-Based Nutrition and Physical Activity Intervention for Children Who Are Overweight or Obese and Their Caregivers.
Xu F, Marchand S, Corcoran C, DiBiasio H, Clough R, Dyer CS, Nobles J, White J, Greaney ML, Greene GW.
J Obes. 2017;2017:2746595. doi: 10.1155/2017/2746595. Epub 2017 Oct 8.
Effectiveness Of A School-Based Multicomponent Intervention On Nutritional Status Among Primary School Children In Bangkok, Thailand.
Chawla N, Panza A, Sirikulchayanonta C, Kumar R, Taneepanichskul S.
J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. 2017 Jan-Mar;29(1):13-20.
Childhood Obesity Facts. (2017, April 10). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html
Childhood Obesity Statistics, Facts [United States & Globally 2017]. (2017, November 25). Retrieved January 27, 2018, from https://renewbariatrics.com/childhood-obesity/