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Help Kids Lose Weight through Routines at Home

September 10, 2013

An article by The Huffington Post reported that changes in household routines, such as limiting TV watching and eating dinner together at regular times could help fight childhood obesity. The article featured an intervention study by DSM HMS researcher Elsie Taveras and Jess Haines, of the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada compared sleep time and body mass index (BMI) in children of low-income families.

The study, published in the September issue of JAMA Pediatrics, enrolled 121 families with overweight children. 59 families received information by mail about healthy household habits, and the other 62 families received in-home counseling about these healthy habits. Children in the in-home counseling group increased their sleep time by a half hour per day, reduced their TV viewing by one hour per day, and decreased their BMI by 20 percent. Meanwhile, children in the control group saw a small decrease in sleep and a 20 percent increase in BMI. Implementing such a program could potentially be costly as noted by the limitations of the study, but it may be most effective in promoting healthy home habits that reduce obesity rates in children.

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