By Kate Wharmby Seldman
When mom and dad help out, kids lose weight and get fit faster. The Los Angeles Times recently reported on a study, published in medical journal Pediatrics, that indicates a diet and exercise program with parental involvement is the best way to help kids stay trim and fit.
The study was performed on 165 overweight kids from about 6 to 10 years old. Researchers split the kids into three groups. The first group visited dietitians with their parents; they followed a diet program and received positive reinforcement from their parents. The second group saw physical education instructors and followed a fitness regimen; at home, their parents took part in the program and encouraged their children to participate in more fitness-boosting activities. The third group saw both dietitians and PE teachers, and their parents did the program along with them.
The study ran for two years, after which time kids in all three groups had lower body mass indexes and smaller waist measurements. The children in the diet program (group 2) and the combination diet and fitness programs (group 3) saw more improvement than those in group 1. Researchers said this result indicated that parental supervision had a positive influence on their children’s weight loss and level of fitness – moreover, parents’ input might be essential for kids to achieve these goals.
"In addition," the authors of the study said, "parents can participate in intervention programs that will benefit their child without their child being required to participate.” This means parents could learn about weight loss and fitness without their children being present, then take that knowledge home and supervise a health regimen for their kids.
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