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Within the last three decades, the prevalence of obesity in childhood has more than doubled in the United States. Approximately 12.7 million (17%) of children aged 2-19 years are affected by obesity in childhood. This research study was launched in an effort to lessen this country’s overwhelming obesity problem by educating children and teens in Arkadelphia, Arkansas about the importance of eating healthy food and living an active lifestyle. The researchers visited five local summer programs during a seven-week period to determine the weight status of typical Arkadelphia children with ages ranging from three to twelve years old. Three programs served as the treatment group and received weekly education sessions covering topics in nutrition and physical activity. Two groups served as the control group and did not participate in the weekly lessons. At the beginning and end of the seven weeks, the children in both the treatment and control groups were weighed and measured and the pre- and post data was compared. Pre- and post assessment body mass index (BMI) were calculated and results collected in a database under the categories of underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obese. Data was collected from 141 children. Newsletters containing a summary of the day’s lesson and practical ways to improve lifestyle were sent home with the children in hopes that caregivers would continue the child’s nutrition and physical activity education at home. Prevention is the main goal of this research, as studies have shown that educating students on the importance of nutrition and physical activity prevents weight gain and thus weight gain related health problems. This particular study was conducted to estimate the effectiveness and value of seven weeks of practical nutrition and physical activity-specific education and its role in the prevention of childhood obesity.



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