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Home » Health

Switch program increases kids’ healthy eating, reduces screen time

Submitted by on 10 October, 2018 – 4:33 am
The program SwitchTM, ‘Change what you do, View, and Chew’, has proven capable of promoting children’s fruit and vegetable consumption and reducing “screen time”. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Medicine tested the program and the report offers a promise for use in the prevention of obesity among young people.

Douglas Gentile, a psychology professor at Iowa State University, USA, worked with a team of investigators to assess the involvement of a group of 1,323 children and their parents from 10 schools. He said, “reverse the childhood obesity epidemic has been established as a key priority. We tried Switch, family, school and community-based intervention aimed at modifying key behaviors of physical activity, television / time of the screen, and nutrition.

The program has three components Switch, Community, School and Family. The community component is designed to promote awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyles through paid advertising (such as billboards) and unpaid media (such as letters to editors of print publications). The component of the school reinforces the message switch, providing teacher materials and methods to integrate the key concepts of health in the school day. Finally, the component of the family, participating families receive monthly packages containing behavioral tools to help families in changing their health habits.

Gentile said, “members of the family are essential for programs to prevent obesity among young people because the parents directly and indirectly influence children’s activity and nutrition behaviors. Parents also influence the physical environment and social that are available for their children. The school and community are essential components to join the program in places where families live, work and play. ”

The intervention gave encouraging results with the experimental group shows significant differences with the control group, both in screen time and consumption of fruits and vegetables. Maintenance, according to the gentiles, “although modest, these results are not trivial. The effects remained significant at 6 months follow-up assessment, indicating the persistence of these differences over time. Such risks may help reduce weight in the future. “

More information: Evaluation of a multiple ecological level child obesity prevention program: Switch what you Do, View, and Chew; Douglas A Gentile, Gregory Welk, Joey C Eisenmann, Rachel A Reimer, David A Walsh, Daniel W Russell, Randi Callahan, Monica Walsh, Sarah Strickland and Katie Fritz; BMC Medicine 2009, 7:49 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-7-49

Source: BioMed Central (web)

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