Effective nutritional programs in school could reduce the onset of obesity

Going by present trends, by 2025 18% of the world's men and 21% of women will be obese, the study predicts. REUTERS

A new study conducted by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health has found that In-school nutritional programs aimed at teaching students to embrace healthy eating habits will limit the increase in body mass index (BMI) in future.

Before making this conclusion, researchers followed more than 600 students from 12 schools in New Haven for five years.

Researchers found that school students with enhanced nutritional programs had healthy body mass index when compared to their peer schools which do not have nutritional programs.

The study report published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that students who embraced healthy eating habits from school had only one percent chance of developing obesity, while students in schools without enhanced support for these policies and programs showed an increase of three to four percent.

"These findings can guide future school and community interventions. Childhood obesity is a serious health threat, and schools are a vital way to reach children and their families to reduce risks and promote health. These findings strongly support previous administration policies that provided healthier food for all children in public schools," said Jeannette Ickovics, the lead author of the study, Eurekalert.org reports.

During the study, researchers also checked whether physical activity regime will impact body mass index during adolescence. However, they found that physical activities alone had little or no impact on determining the body mass index.

Marlene Schwartz, director of the Rudd Center and senior study author revealed that this new research report is a piece of strong evidence that substantiates the connection between healthy eating habits during childhood and the trigger of obesity.

"This is some of the strongest evidence we have to date that nutrition education and promoting healthy eating behaviours in the classroom and cafeteria can have a meaningful impact on children's health. These findings can inform how we approach federal wellness policy requirements and implementation in schools to help mitigate childhood obesity," revealed Schwartz.

This article was first published on December 20, 2018