Real‐world effectiveness of a healthy lifestyle intervention for childhood obesity
A third of U.S. children have been found to be either overweight or obese. Though clinical trials have shown some interventions for childhood obesity to be effective, how these interventions might fare in the real world, outside of controlled trial settings, is less clear.
In a new study published in the journal Obesity, Yale researchers assessed the actual effects of Bright Bodies, a Yale program for children ages seven to 16 that incorporates family-based nutrition education classes, behavior modification classes, supervised physical activity, and parent groups. In 2007, a trial showed that participation in Bright Bodies—developed and directed by nutritionist Mary Savoye—reduced children’s body mass index scores and their risk for diabetes.
In the new study, the researchers found that body mass index scores and body fat percentages for children participating in the Bright Bodies beginner-level program between 2008 and 2018 in fact decreased at a rate comparable to the original trial.
“We now have over a decade of evidence showing the Bright Bodies healthy lifestyle program is effective in a real-world setting,” said Stephanie Samuels, an associate research scientist in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the study.
“This information is timely given the new clinical practice guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics,” said Mona Sharifi, associate professor of pediatrics, senior author of the study, and co-author of the new guidelines. “They speak to the need to expand access to evidence-based interventions like Bright Bodies.”
Stephanie L. Samuels et al, Real‐world effectiveness of the Bright Bodies healthy lifestyle intervention for childhood obesity, Obesity (2022). DOI: 10.1002/oby.23627
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