Preventing Childhood Obesity

This project is a follow-up of an original project and was conducted taking longitudinal measurements. This is an example of cluster randomized control trial. Here the class will act as the cluster. Data pertaining to the anthropometric measures were taken for each cluster and compared against each other. But as some students in a cluster drop out, thereby leaving the cluster numbers unequal, researchers analyze the interval data with special software.

The team makes use of the ‘MLwiN’ (version 2) software and calculates the findings. A significant point to note about this research is that this trial focussed on the importance of diet based intervention methodology. It was specific in its approach of this method. It promoted a healthy diet system based on the balance of the good health. At the same time the study discouraged the consumption of carbonated soft drinks. A number of studies have already confirmed the relation between these drinks and the obesity (Ebbeling CB, Et All.

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Pediatrics 2006; 117:673-80, Tam Int JObes 2006; 30:1091-3, SmithWestD Et All Obes Res 2006; 14:1825-31, Rush E Et All, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2006; 15:242-4, Mrdjenovic G, Et All, J Pediatr 2003; 142:604-10). This CHOPPS project, also called as ‘Ditch the Fizz’ project, was started in August 2001. The project was completed in a years’ time and was conducted on children aged 7-11 from six junior schools in southern England. The researchers advocated strongly against the consumption of the carbonated drinks and simultaneously conducted health education programmes across four school terms.

The results were really impressive with considerable number of students giving up drinking carbonated drinks (James J, Thomas, BMJ 2004; 328:1237-9). This project is an excellent example to show how the lifestyle and dietary habits contribute to the obesity in children. These carbonated drinks contain high glycaemic index and that they provide “empty” calories which can be considered as a reason for the link between obesity and the consumption of such drinks.

Results were encouraging and inspiring to continue the project rigorously as the table below indicate the stats (Janet James Et All, CHOPPS Trial, Page 3, Table 1). The table clearly shows how the waist measurements were influenced over a period of time. But as a limitation to this study, the team had to use another method to analyze the data due to loss of clusters in the follow-up process. Also, financial restrictions limited the desired outcomes of this study, nevertheless an effective research.

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