Healthy Routines May Reduce Obesity in Children and Teens

Three household routines and reading of an age-appropriate novel may aid weight loss
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to three household routines is associated with a significantly reduced prevalence of obesity in preschoolers, and an age-appropriate book may help obese girls aged 9 to 13 years lose weight, according to two articles published online Feb. 8 in Pediatrics.

Sarah E. Anderson, Ph.D., of the Ohio State University College of Public Health in Columbus, and a colleague conducted a cross-sectional analysis of about 8,550 4-year-old children who were assessed in 2005 in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. They found that children who regularly ate dinner as a family, got adequate sleep, and had limited screen-viewing time had a significantly lower prevalence of obesity than children exposed to none of these routines (14.3 versus 24.5 percent).

Terrill Bravender, M.D., of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues studied 31 obese girls who read an intervention novel about an overweight girl who improves her health and self esteem, and 33 girls who read a control novel. After two months, they found that the mean reduction in body mass index percentile was significantly greater in the intervention group (0.71 versus 0.33).

"Age-appropriate fiction, particularly if it addresses health-oriented behaviors, shows potential for augmenting weight loss in girls who participate in a weight-management program," Bravender and colleagues conclude. "Future research is needed to determine if the novel is effective for healthy lifestyle promotion among all overweight and obese adolescents."

Abstract - Anderson
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Abstract - Bravender
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