Primary school anti-obesity programmes are failing

Primary school anti-obesity programmes are failing

A new study by the British Medical Journal suggests that school programmes encouraging children to eat healthily and exercise more have no effect on childhood obesity.

As reported by the BBC, over 600 primary school pupils in the west midlands took part in the 12-month anti-obesity programme but no improvements were found in the children’s diet or activity levels.

The researchers, from the University of Birmingham, said families, communities and the food industry probably had more of an influence than school initiatives.

In the UK, one in four children starts school overweight and one in 10 is obese. By the end of primary school, the percentage of obese children has doubled to one in five.

The programme introduced in schools in the study included a daily opportunity to do 30 minutes of additional exercise; a six-week healthy eating and exercise programme in conjunction with Aston Villa Football Club; healthy cooking workshops once a term for families; and the highlighting of local family physical activities

The researchers set up the healthy lifestyle programme for six and seven-year-olds in 26 primary schools.

They then compared the results with more than 700 children in another 28 primary schools who did not take part.

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