Child obesity prevention programs benefit parents, too

the Clinical Advisor take:

Parents whose children are enrolled in a community-based childhood obesity intervention may also see a decrease in body mass index (BMI), results of a study published in the American Journal of Public Health indicate.

“The program may be the first to measure the effect of a school-based program on community health,” explained Edward Coffield, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, to MedPage Today.

To investigate BMI of parents whose children participated in the community-based obesity prevention program, the researchers surveyed 478 parents at the start and completion of the program. Of the participating parents, 122 had children in elementary schools that participated in the program. The control group consisted of 356 parents had children in neighboring schools that did not participate in the obesity prevention program.

A -0.411 point reduction in BMI was noted in the treatment group (95% CI: -0.725 to -0.097) compared with the control group. Despite the modest size of the treatment effect, the researchers reported that the effect would be enough to reduce mean body weight in parents.

“We've provided new evidence that community wide school-based obesity prevention efforts may go beyond the target audience of young children and influence the weight status of their parent, who helps decide what they eat and how active they are at home,” said Christina Economos, PhD, an associate professor at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, said in a university news release.

Childhood obesity prevention program helps parents lose weight
Childhood obesity prevention program helps parents lose weight

Parents whose children were part of a school-centered, community-based obesity prevention program reported losing a modest amount of weight over the course of the 2-year intervention, according to a study published online December 18 in the American Journal of Public Health.

The program may be the first to measure the effect of a school-based program on community health, according to Edward Coffield, PhD, prevention effectiveness fellow, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues. The researchers surveyed 478 parents at the start and completion of a program targeting children in grades 1 through 3, called Shape Up Somerville: Eat Smart Play Hard, which ran from 2002 to 2005.
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