Australian school-based Obesity Prevention Program fails to reduce BMI

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th May 2012

An Australian school-based obesity prevention program for adolescent girls has failed to reduce body mass index (BMI) in the participants, according to a report published by Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Researchers at the University of Newcastle, Australia, examined the effects of a 12-month group trial designed to prevent unhealthy weight gain in adolescent girls living in low-income communities. The study was funded by a grant from the Australian Research Council.

The study included 357 adolescent girls between the ages of 12 to 14 years, and 148 girls received the program. The program included, among other things, enhanced school sport sessions, nutrition workshops, lunchtime physical activity sessions and text messaging for social support.

After 12 months, changes in BMI were “in favour” of the program, but were not statistically different from those in the control group, according to the study results.

Lead author of the study, Dr David R. Lubans said, “The intervention effects on body composition were small and not statistically significant but have potential clinical importance.

“Girls in the intervention group spent 30 minutes per day less in screen-based activities than their control group peers. High levels of screen time are associated with a range of adverse health consequences, and our findings have important implications that may help address the increasing burden of pediatric and adolescent obesity observed in areas of social and economic disadvantage.”