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Study finds intervention program increases kids' healthy eating, reduces screen time
Date:9/25/2009

rtising, such as billboards; and unpaid media, including editorials. The school component reinforces the Switch messages by providing teachers with materials and methods to integrate key health concepts into the school day. And in the family component, participating families receive monthly packets containing behavioral tools to assist them in altering their health behaviors.

"The program is designed to be a more comprehensive approach to childhood obesity prevention," Gentile said. "It results from several lessons we learned, while creating interventions over the past 15 years. One is that focusing on kids can work, but unless the family's on board, you're not going to get much movement. So the ideal program would be to work at multiple ecological levels all at once so that people are getting repeated, parallel, overlapping messages at the individual, family and community levels."

Gentile reports that the positive effects on children remained significant at the six-month follow-up evaluation, indicating maintenance of these differences over time. In fact, they increased slightly following the intervention, which may contribute to reduced weight risks in the future.

"To me, the strongest finding is that we found stronger results in the six-month follow-up than at the end of the intervention -- and that's unique," said ISU's Welk, who studies exercise and health. "That would imply that the lessons took hold after the intervention and families have had time to apply them to their lives."

The ISU researchers are planning further analysis of the data gathered in this research for future studies, including one that will explore a "booster" component of The Switch program.


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Contact: Mike Ferlazzo
ferlazzo@iastate.edu
515-294-8986
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert

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