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1.  High prevalence of overweight among adolescents in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:141.
Two previous surveys conducted in Ho Chi Minh City revealed an increasing prevalence of overweight and obese adolescents, from 5.9% in 2002 to 11.7% in 2004. From 2004 to 2010, the government set up and implemented health promotion programs to promote physical activity and good nutritional habits in order to prevent overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. Our study aimed to estimate the prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents in urban areas of Ho Chi Minh City in 2010.
A representative sample of 1,989 students aged 11–14 years was selected using a multistage cluster sampling method. 23 schools were randomly selected from the full list of all public junior high schools. In each selected school, 2 classes were chosen at random and all students from the class were examined. Age- and sex-adjusted overweight and obesity were defined using International Obesity Taskforce cut-offs.
The prevalences of overweight and obesity were 17.8% and 3.2%, respectively. Prevalences of overweight and obesity were significantly higher in boys (22%, 5.4% ) than in girls (13.3%, 1.3%, p<0.001) and higher in children from districts with a high economic level (20.5% , 3.8% ) than in those from districts with a low economic level (12.1%, 3.8%, p<0.001). Additionally, children living in wealthier families were more overweight and obese than those living in less wealthy families. When using WHO cutoffs, the overall prevalences of overweight and obesity reached 19.6% and 7.9%, respectively.
Our study’s findings suggest that the prevalence of overweight and obesity among secondary school students remains high, especially among boys living in wealthier families. Public health programs should therefore be developed or improved in order to promote good eating habits and physical activity among youth in HCMC.
PMCID: PMC3598401  PMID: 23414441
Adolescent overweight; Ho Chi Minh City; IOTF definition; Obesity; Prevalence; Socioeconomic; Vietnam
2.  Differences in lifestyle behaviors, dietary habits, and familial factors among normal-weight, overweight, and obese Chinese children and adolescents 
Pediatric obesity has become a global public health problem. Data on the lifestyle behaviors, dietary habits, and familial factors of overweight and obese children and adolescents are limited. The present study aims to compare health-related factors among normal-weight, overweight, and obese Chinese children and adolescents.
We conducted a cross-sectional study consisted of 4262 children and adolescents aged 5–18 years old from rural areas of the northeast China. Anthropometric measurements and self-reported information on health-related variables, such as physical activities, sleep duration, dietary habits, family income, and recognition of weight status from the views of both children and parents, were collected by trained personnel.
The prevalence rates of overweight and obesity were 15.3 and 6.4%, respectively. Compared to girls, boys were more commonly overweight (17.5% vs. 12.9%) and obese (9.5% vs. 3.1%). Approximately half of the parents with an overweight or obese child reported that they failed to recognize their child’s excess weight status, and 65% of patients with an overweight child reported that they would not take measures to decrease their child’s body weight. Obese children and adolescents were more likely to be nonsnackers [odds ratio (OR): 1.348; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.039–1.748] and to have a family income of 2000 CNY or more per month (OR: 1.442; 95% CI: 1.045–1.99) and less likely to sleep longer (≥7.5 h) (OR: 0.475; 95% CI: 0.31–0.728) than the normal-weight participants.
Our study revealed a high prevalence of overweight and obesity in a large Chinese pediatric population. Differences in sleep duration, snacking, family income, and parental recognition of children’s weight status among participants in different weight categories were observed, which should be considered when planning prevention and treatment programs for pediatric obesity.
PMCID: PMC3522535  PMID: 23031205
Overweight; Obesity; Children; Adolescents; Health-related factors
3.  Socio-demographic and lifestyle factors associated with overweight in a representative sample of 11-15 year olds in France: Results from the WHO-Collaborative Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:442.
The prevalence of overweight in children and adolescents is high and overweight is associated with poor health outcomes over short- and long-term. Lifestyle factors can interact to influence overweight. Comprehensive studies linking overweight concomitantly with several demographic and potentially-modifiable lifestyle factors and health-risk behaviours are limited in adolescents - an age-group characterized by changes in lifestyle behaviours and high prevalence of overweight. Thus, the objective of the current study was to examine the association of overweight with several socio-demographic and lifestyle variables simultaneously in a representative sample of adolescents.
A nationally representative sample of 11-15 year-olds (n = 7154) in France participated as part of the WHO-Collaborative Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. Students reported data on their age, height, weight, socio-demographic variables, lifestyle factors including nutrition practices, physical activity at two levels of intensity (moderate and vigorous), sedentary behaviours, as well as smoking and alcohol consumption patterns using standardized HBSC protocols. Overweight (including obesity) was defined using the IOTF reference. The multivariate association of overweight with several socio-demographic and lifestyle factors was examined with logistic regression models.
The adjusted odds ratios for the association with overweight were: 1.80 (95% CI: 1.37-2.36) for low family affluence; 0.73 (0.60-0.88) for eating breakfast daily; 0.69 (0.56-0.84) for moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA); and 0.71 (0.59-0.86) for vigorous physical activity (VPA). Significant interactions between age and gender as well as television (TV) viewing and gender were noted: for boys, overweight was not associated with age or TV viewing; in contrast, for girls overweight correlated negatively with age and positively with TV viewing. Fruit and vegetable intake, computer and video-games use, smoking and alcohol consumption were not associated with overweight.
In multivariate model, family affluence, breakfast consumption and moderate to vigorous as well as vigorous physical activity were negatively associated with overweight. These findings extend previous research to a setting where multiple risk and protective factors were simultaneously examined and highlight the importance of multi-faceted approaches promoting physical activity and healthy food choices such as breakfast consumption for overweight prevention in adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3123212  PMID: 21649892
overweight; adolescence; socio-economic status; diet; physical activity and sedentary behavior; smoking; alcohol consumption
4.  Modifiable risk factors for overweight and obesity in children and adolescents from São Paulo, Brazil 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:585.
Brazil is currently experiencing a nutrition transition: the displacement of traditional diets with foods high in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol and an increase in sedentary lifestyles. Despite these trends, our understanding of child obesity in Brazil is limited. Thus, the aims of this study were (1) to investigate the current prevalence of overweight and obesity in a large sample of children and adolescents living in São Paulo, Brazil, and (2) to identify the lifestyle behaviors associated with an increased risk of obesity in young Brazilians.
A total of 3,397 children and adolescents (1,596 male) aged 7-18 years were randomly selected from 22 schools in São Paulo, Brazil. Participants were classified as normal weight, overweight, or obese based on international age- and sex-specific body mass index thresholds. Selected sociodemographic, physical activity, and nutrition behaviors were assessed via questionnaire.
Overall, 19.4% of boys and 16.1% of girls were overweight while 8.9% and 4.3% were obese. Two-way analysis of variance revealed that the prevalence of overweight and obesity was significantly higher in boys and in younger children when compared to girls and older children, respectively (P < 0.05 for both). Logistic regression analysis revealed that overweight was associated with more computer usage, parental encouragement to be active, and light soft drink consumption after controlling for differences in sex, age, and parental education (P < 0.05 for all). Conversely, overweight was associated with less active transport to school, eating before sleep, and consumption of breakfast, full-sugar soft drinks, fried food and confectionery (P < 0.05 for all).
Our results show that obesity in São Paulo children and adolescents has reached a level equivalent to that seen in many developed countries. We have also identified three key modifiable factors related to obesity that may be appropriate targets for future intervention in Brazilian youth: transport mode to school, computer usage, and breakfast consumption.
PMCID: PMC3154175  PMID: 21781313
5.  Startup Circuit Training Program Reduces Metabolic Risk in Latino Adolescents 
This study aimed to test the effects of a circuit training (CT; aerobic + strength training) program, with and without motivational interviewing (MI) behavioral therapy, on reducing adiposity and type 2 diabetes risk factors in Latina teenagers.
Thirty-eight Latina adolescents (15.8 ± 1.1 yr) who are overweight/obese were randomly assigned to control (C; n = 12), CT (n = 14), or CT + MI (n = 12). The CT classes were held twice a week (60–90 min) for 16 wk. The CT + MI group also received individual or group MI sessions every other week. The following were measured before and after intervention: strength by one-repetition maximum; cardiorespiratory fitness (V̇O2max) by submaximal treadmill test; physical activity by accelerometry; dietary intake by records; height, weight, waist circumference; total body composition by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry; visceral adipose tissue, subcutaneous adipose tissue, and hepatic fat fraction by magnetic resonance imaging; and glucose/insulin indices by fasting blood draw. Across-intervention group effects were tested using repeated-measures ANOVA with post hoc pairwise comparisons.
CT and CT + MI participants, compared with controls, significantly increased fitness (+16% and +15% vs −6%, P = 0.03) and leg press (+40% vs +20%, P = 0.007). Compared with controls, CT participants also decreased waist circumference (−3% vs +3%; P < 0.001), subcutaneous adipose tissue (−10% vs 8%, P = 0.04), visceral adipose tissue (−10% vs +6%, P = 0.05), fasting insulin (−24% vs +6%, P = 0.03), and insulin resistance (−21% vs −4%, P = 0.05).
CT may be an effective starter program to reduce fat depots and improve insulin resistance in Latino youth who are overweight/obese, whereas the additional MI therapy showed no additive effect on these health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3480316  PMID: 21502883
6.  Healthy eating and obesity prevention for preschoolers: a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:220.
Developing effective prevention and intervention programs for the formative preschool years is seen as an essential step in combating the obesity epidemic across the lifespan. The overall goal of the current project is to measure the effectiveness of a healthy eating and childhood obesity prevention intervention, the MEND (Mind Exercise Nutrition Do It!) program that is delivered to parents of children aged 2-4 years.
This randomised controlled trial will be conducted with 200 parents and their 2-4 year old children who attend the MEND 2-4 program in metropolitan and regional Victoria. Parent-child dyads will attend ten 90-minute group workshops. These workshops focus on general nutrition, as well as physical activity and behaviours. They are typically held at community or maternal and child health centres and run by a MEND 2-4 trained program leader. Child eating habits, physical activity levels and parental behaviours and cognitions pertaining to nutrition and physical activity will be assessed at baseline, the end of the intervention, and at 6 and 12 months post the intervention. Informed consent will be obtained from all parents, who will then be randomly allocated to the intervention or wait-list control group.
Our study is the first RCT of a healthy eating and childhood obesity prevention intervention targeted specifically to Australian parents and their preschool children aged 2-4 years. It responds to the call by experts in the area of childhood obesity and child health that prevention of overweight in the formative preschool years should focus on parents, given that parental beliefs, attitudes, perceptions and behaviours appear to impact significantly on the development of early overweight. This is 'solution-oriented' rather than 'problem-oriented' research, with its focus being on prevention rather than intervention. If this is a positive trial, the MEND2-4 program can be implemented as a national program.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12610000200088
PMCID: PMC2873586  PMID: 20426840
7.  Adolescent Weight Status and Related Behavioural Factors: Web Survey of Physical Activity and Nutrition 
Journal of Obesity  2011;2012:342386.
Purpose. To identify whether non-overweight students were different from their overweight or obese peers with respect to diet, suboptimal meal behaviours, and physical activity using a self-administered web-based survey. Methods. 4097 adolescents living in Alberta, Canada completed Web-SPAN (Web Survey of Physical Activity and Nutrition). Students were classified as overweight or obese, and differences were described in terms of nutrient intakes, physical activity, and meal behaviours. Results. Non-overweight students consumed significantly more carbohydrate and fibre, and significantly less fat and high calorie beverages, and had a higher frequency of consuming breakfast and snacks compared to overweight or obese students. Both non-overweight and overweight students were significantly more active than obese students. Conclusions. This research supports the need to target suboptimal behaviours such as high calorie beverage consumption, fat intake, breakfast skipping, and physical inactivity. School nutrition policies and mandatory physical education for all students may help to improve weight status in adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3228322  PMID: 22175005
8.  Rationale, design and methods for a staggered-entry, waitlist controlled clinical trial of the impact of a community-based, family-centred, multidisciplinary program focussed on activity, food and attitude habits (Curtin University’s Activity, Food and Attitudes Program—CAFAP) among overweight adolescents 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:471.
Current estimates place just under one quarter of adolescents in Australia as overweight or obese. Adolescence has been identified as a critical period for the development of obesity, yet despite this recognition, there is limited systematic research into or evaluation of interventions for overweight adolescents. Reviews have concluded that there is a substantive evidence gap for effective intervention, but physical activity, lifestyle change and family involvement have been identified as promising foci for treatment.
This paper reports on the development of a staggered-entry, waitlist controlled clinical trial to assess the impact of a multidisciplinary intervention aiming to change the poor health trajectory of overweight adolescents and help them avoid morbid obesity in adulthood—Curtin University’s Activity, Food and Attitudes Program (CAFAP). 96 adolescents, aged 11–16 years, and parents, will attend twice weekly during an 8 week intensive multidisciplinary program with maintenance follow-up focussed on improving activity, food and attitude habits. Follow-up assessments will be conducted immediately after completing the intensive program, and at 3, 6 and 12 months post intensive program. Main outcomes will be objectively-measured physical activity, sedentary behaviour and activity behaviours; food intake (measured by 3 day diary) and food behaviours; body composition, fitness and physical function; mental and social well-being (quality of life, mood and attitudes), and family functioning.
This trial will provide important information to understand whether a community based multidisciplinary intervention can have short and medium term effects on activity and food habits, attitudes, and physical and mental health status of overweight adolescents.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12611001187932.
PMCID: PMC3439288  PMID: 22721261
Adolescent; Obesity; Intervention; Self-determination theory; Physical activity; Dietary intake; Attitudes
9.  Tracking and prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors across socio-economic classes: A longitudinal substudy of the European Youth Heart Study 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:20.
The highest prevalence of several cardiovascular disease risk factors including obesity, smoking and low physical activity level is observed in adults of low socioeconomic status. This study investigates whether tracking of body mass index and physical fitness from childhood to adolescence differs between groups of socioeconomic status. Furthermore the study investigates whether social class differences in the prevalence of overweight and low physical fitness exist or develop within the age range from childhood to adolescence.
In all, 384 school children were followed for a period of six years (from third to ninth grade). Physical fitness was determined by a progressive maximal cycle ergometer test and the classification of overweight was based on body mass index cut-points proposed by the International Obesity Task Force. Socioeconomic status was defined according to The International Standard Classification of Occupation scheme.
Moderate and moderately high tracking was observed for physical fitness and body mass index, respectively. No significant difference in tracking was observed between groups of socioeconomic status. A significant social gradient was observed in both the prevalence of overweight and low physical fitness in the 14–16-year-old adolescents, whereas at the age of 8–10 years, only the prevalence of low physical fitness showed a significant inverse relation to socioeconomic status. The odds of both developing and maintaining risk during the measurement period were estimated as bigger in the group of low socioeconomic status than in the group of high socioeconomic status, although differences were significant only with respect to the odds of developing overweight.
The results indicate that the fundamental possibilities of predicting overweight and low physical fitness at an early point in time are the same for different groups of socio-economic status. Furthermore, the observed development of social inequalities in the absolute prevalence of overweight and low physical fitness underline the need for broad preventive efforts targeting children of low socioeconomic status in early childhood.
PMCID: PMC1403767  PMID: 16441892
10.  Effects of Resistance Training and Aerobic Exercise on Insulin Sensitivity in Overweight Korean Adolescents: A Controlled Randomized Trial 
Diabetes & Metabolism Journal  2011;35(4):418-426.
Data on the impact of resistance training on insulin resistance in overweight or obese children are inconclusive.
Thirty overweight South Korean adolescents (mean age of 13.10 years) were divided by sex, and then randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups, which were the diet only (DO), diet with aerobic exercise (AE), or diet with resistance training (RT) group. Physiologic and metabolic parameters were assessed at baseline and after 12 weeks of exercise training and diet modification.
Both exercise groups (aerobic and resistance) showed significant improvements in their insulin area under the curve and insulin sensitivity index values when compared to their baseline values while the DO group showed no significant changes in these variables. Age-, sex-, and body mass index (BMI)-adjusted intergroup comparison analyses showed a marked reduction in BMI and a significant reduction in muscle mass in the AE group when compared to the RT group and the DO group, respectively.
A 12-week exercise training program of either resistance or aerobic activity improved insulin sensitivity in overweight adolescents, although it failed to show superiority over a DO program. Aerobic exercise decreased both body weight and BMI, and it was noted that this group also had a significant reduction in muscle mass when compared to the DO group.
PMCID: PMC3178704  PMID: 21977463
Adolescent; Aerobic exercise; Insulin sensitivity; Resistance training
11.  Lifestyle Triple P: a parenting intervention for childhood obesity 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:267.
Reversing the obesity epidemic requires the development and evaluation of childhood obesity intervention programs. Lifestyle Triple P is a parent-focused group program that addresses three topics: nutrition, physical activity, and positive parenting. Australian research has established the efficacy of Lifestyle Triple P, which aims to prevent excessive weight gain in overweight and obese children. The aim of the current randomized controlled trial is to assess the effectiveness of the Lifestyle Triple P intervention when applied to Dutch parents of overweight and obese children aged 4–8 years. This effectiveness study is called GO4fit.
Parents of overweight and obese children are being randomized to either the intervention or the control group. Those assigned to the intervention condition receive the 14-week Lifestyle Triple P intervention, in which they learn a range of nutritional, physical activity and positive parenting strategies. Parents in the control group receive two brochures, web-based tailored advice, and suggestions for exercises to increase active playing at home. Measurements are taken at baseline, directly after the intervention, and at one year follow-up. Primary outcome measure is the children’s body composition, operationalized as BMI z-score, waist circumference, and fat mass (biceps and triceps skinfolds). Secondary outcome measures are children’s dietary behavior and physical activity level, parenting practices, parental feeding style, parenting style, parental self-efficacy, and body composition of family members (parents and siblings).
Our intervention is characterized by a focus on changing general parenting styles, in addition to focusing on changing specific parenting practices, as obesity interventions typically do. Strengths of the current study are the randomized design, the long-term follow-up, and the broad range of both self-reported and objectively measured outcomes.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials NTR 2555
NL 31988.068.10 / MEC 10-3-052
PMCID: PMC3408381  PMID: 22471971
12.  Influence of Sports, Physical Education, and Active Commuting to School on Adolescent Weight Status 
Pediatrics  2012;130(2):e296-e304.
To compare the associations between weight status and different forms of physical activity among adolescents.
We conducted telephone surveys with 1718 New Hampshire and Vermont high school students and their parents as part of a longitudinal study of adolescent health. We surveyed adolescents about their team sports participation, other extracurricular physical activity, active commuting, physical education, recreational activity for fun, screen time, diet quality, and demographics. Overweight/obesity (BMI for age ≥ 85th percentile) and obesity (BMI for age ≥ 95 percentile) were based on self-reported height and weight.
Overall, 29.0% (n = 498) of the sample was overweight/obese and 13.0% (n = 223) were obese. After adjustments, sports team participation was inversely related to overweight/obesity (relative risk [RR] = 0.73 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.61, 0.87] for >2 sports teams versus 0) and obesity (RR = 0.61 [95% CI: 0.45, 0.81] for >2 sports teams versus 0). Additionally, active commuting to school was inversely related to obesity (RR = 0.67 [95% CI: 0.45, 0.99] for >3.5 days per week versus 0). Attributable risk estimates suggest obesity prevalence would decrease by 26.1% (95% CI: 9.4%, 42.8%) if all adolescents played on 2 sports teams per year and by 22.1% (95% CI: 0.1%, 43.3%) if all adolescents walked/biked to school at least 4 days per week.
Team sport participation had the strongest and most consistent inverse association with weight status. Active commuting to school may reduce the risk of obesity, but not necessarily overweight, and should be studied further. Obesity prevention programs should consider strategies to increase team sport participation among all students.
PMCID: PMC3408684  PMID: 22802608
overweight; obesity; exercise; sports; team sports; physical education; active travel; walking; bicycling; commuting; adolescent; body weight; secondary school
13.  Obesity-related behaviors of Malaysian adolescents: a sample from Kajang district of Selangor state 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2012;6(5):458-465.
This study aims to determine the association between obesity-related behaviors (dietary practices, physical activity and body image) and body weight status among adolescents. A total of 382 adolescents (187 males and 195 females) aged 13 to 15 years in Kajang, Selangor participated in this study. Majority of the respondents were Malays (56.0%), followed by Chinese (30.1%) and Indians (13.9%). Dietary practices, physical activity and body image of the adolescents were assessed through the eating behaviors questionnaire, two-day dietary record, two-day physical activity record and multi-dimensional body image scale (MBIS), respectively. Body weight and height were measured by trained researchers. The prevalence of overweight and obesity (19.5%) was about twice the prevalence of underweight (10.5%). About two-thirds of the respondents (72.3%) skipped at least one meal and half of them (56.2%) snacked between meals with a mean energy intake of 1,641 ± 452 kcal/day. More than half of the respondents (56.8%) were practicing sedentary lifestyle with a mean energy expenditure of 1,631 ± 573 kcal per day. Energy intake (r = 0.153, P < 0.05), physical activity (r = 0.463, P < 0.01) and body image (r = 0.424, P < 0.01) were correlated with BMI. However, meal skipping, snacking and energy expenditure per kg body weight were not associated with body weight status. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that body image, physical activity and energy intake contributed significantly in explaining body weight status of the adolescents. In short, overweight and obesity were likely to be associated not only with energy intake and physical activity, but also body image. Hence, promoting healthy eating, active lifestyle and positive body image should be incorporated in future obesity prevention programmes in adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3506878  PMID: 23198026
Adolescents; body weight status; dietary practices; physical activity; body image
14.  BMI and Physical Activity Among at-Risk Sixth- and Ninth-Grade Students, Hillsborough County, Florida, 2005-2006 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2010;7(3):A48.
During the past 3 decades, the number of overweight adolescents increased while adolescent engagement in physical activity decreased. We investigated the prevalence of overweight and physical activity levels among economically disadvantaged and minority middle- and high-school students in a school district in Florida. In particular, data on physical activity levels of middle-school students are limited and needed for prevention and intervention planning. In addition, because of state education policies, students in Florida are less likely than students nationally to enroll in physical education, placing them at a higher risk for decreased physical activity levels.
We used multivariate methodology to analyze physical activity levels among 526 students from 3 middle and 2 high schools in southwest Florida.
Forty percent of students met criteria for overweight or obesity. Overall, less than 45% of students reported engaging in daily physical activity. Boys reported higher levels of physical activity than did girls, and a decline in physical activity levels was observed between grades 6 and 9, especially among minority girls (ie, African American and Latino). Lack of time was identified as the greatest barrier to engaging in physical activity.
This study documents health disparities among minority students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in an urban school district. Participation in daily physical activity was below recommended guidelines across grades. We found numerous barriers to engaging in physical activity, which will enable local education agencies to evaluate their current physical activity policies and identify alternative physical activities for these youth.
PMCID: PMC2879980  PMID: 20394687
15.  Pediatric obesity: Parallels with addiction and treatment recommendations 
Harvard Review of Psychiatry  2008;16(2):80-96.
Rates of pediatric obesity have increased dramatically over the past decade. This trend is particularly alarming as obesity is associated with significant medical and psychosocial consequences. Obesity may contribute to cardiovascular, metabolic, and hepatic complications, as well as psychiatric difficulties. The development of obesity appears to be influenced by a complex array of genetic, metabolic, and neural frameworks, as well as behavior, eating habits, and physical activity. Numerous parallels exist between obesity and addictive behaviors, including genetic predisposition, personality, environmental risk factors, and common neurobiological pathways in the brain. Typical treatments for pediatric obesity include behavioral interventions targeting diet and/or exercise. Treatments focusing on diet and exercise have yielded mixed results, and typically have been examined in specialty clinic populations, limiting their generalizability. There are limited medication options for overweight children and adolescents, and no approved medical intervention in children younger than 16. Bariatric surgery may be an option for some adolescents, but due to the risks of surgery it is often seen as a last resort. The parallels between addiction and obesity aid in the development of novel interventions for pediatric obesity. Motivational enhancement and cognitive-behavioral strategies used in addiction treatment may serve to be beneficial.
PMCID: PMC3352597  PMID: 18415881
Pediatric obesity; medical co-morbidity; addiction; treatment; review
16.  Effects of a recreational physical activity and healthy habits orientation program, using an illustrated diary, on the cardiovascular risk profile of overweight and obese schoolchildren: a pilot study in a public school in Brasilia, Federal District, Brazil 
Educative strategies need to be adopted to encourage the consumption of healthy foods and to promote physical activity in childhood and adolescence. The effects of recreational physical activity and a health-habit orientation program using an illustrated diary on the cardiovascular risk profile of overweight and obese children was investigated.
The weight and height of 314 schoolchildren aged between 9 and 11 years old, in a public school in Brasilia, Federal District, Brazil, were recorded. According to the body mass index (BMI) classification proposed by the World Health Organization, 84 were overweight or obese for their age and sex. Of these children, 34 (40%) participated in the study. Students were divided into two groups matched for sex, age, BMI, percent body fat (%BF): the intervention group (IG, n = 17) and the control group (CG, n = 17). The IG underwent a program of 10 weeks of exercise with recreational activities and health-habit orientation using an illustrated diary of habits, while no such interventions were used with the CG during the study period. Before and after the intervention, the children’s weight, height, BMI, %BF, waist circumference (WC), maximum oxygen intake (VO2max), total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL), triglycerides, glucose, eating habits, and physical activity level (PAL) were assessed. In analyzing the data, we used descriptive statistics and paired and unpaired t-tests, using a significance level of 0.05. For assessment of dietary habits, a questionnaire, contingency tables, and the chi-squared test were used, with <0.05 set as the significance level.
After 10 weeks of intervention, the IG showed a reduction in BMI (pre: 22.2 ± 2.1 kg/m2 versus [vs] post: 21.6 ± 2.1 kg/m2, P < 0.01); WC (pre: 70.1 ± 6.1 cm vs post: 69.1 ± 5.8 cm, P < 0.01); %BF (pre: 29.2% ± 4.6% vs post: 28.0% ± 4.8%, P < 0.01); systolic blood pressure (P < 0.01); VO2max (P = 0.014); TC (P < 0.01); LDL (P < 0.01); triglycerides (P < 0.01); and intake of candy (P < 0.01) and soda drinks (P < 0.01), while an increase in the consumption of fruit (P < 0.01) and PAL (P < 0.01) were observed. The CG did not show any change in the health parameters assessed.
The program was effective in reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and the use of an illustrative diary may have been the key to this result, since students were motivated to change their poor eating habits and to increase their physical activity level.
PMCID: PMC3848643  PMID: 24348058
obesity; cardiovascular disease; physical activity level; body mass index; risk factor; motivation; children; change of habits
17.  Physical Activity, Watching Television, and the Risk of Obesity in Students, Texas, 2004-2005 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2011;8(3):A61.
The epidemic of childhood obesity has been well-documented. Prevalence of obesity among students in Texas is higher than the US prevalence. Our objective was to understand the combined influence of physical activity and television viewing on weight status of students in Texas.
Students in grades 4, 8, and 11 participated in the School Physical Activity and Nutrition survey during the 2004-2005 academic year. Multinomial logistic regression tested the associations between both being overweight and obese (vs underweight/normal weight) and the combined influence of physical activity and watching television, adjusting for age, grade, race/ethnicity, language spoken at home, and percentage of economically disadvantaged students in the school. We used 5 physical activity indicators to describe students' physical activity.
Girls who participated in less than 3 days of exercise per week to strengthen or tone muscles and watched 2 hours or less per day of television had increased odds of being obese (adjusted odds ratio, 1.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-3.0) compared with girls who participated in 3 or more days per week of exercise to strengthen or tone muscles and watched 2 hours or less per day of television. Boys in our study who watched 3 or more hours per day of television and did not meet physical activity recommendations had increased odds of being obese in all of our 5 physical activity indicators.
Although results varied by physical activity indicator and sex, our findings provide further evidence for the combined effect of high television watching and low physical activity engagement on the risk for obesity in children and adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3103566  PMID: 21477501
18.  The Impact of an Intervention Taught by Trained Teachers on Childhood Overweight 
The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of a six-months’ nutrition program, delivered and taught by classroom teachers with in-service nutrition training, on the prevention of overweight and obesity among children in grades 1 to 4. In this randomized trial, four hundred and sixty four children from seven elementary schools were allocated to a nutrition educational program delivered by their own teachers. Intervened teachers had 12 sessions of three hours each with the researchers throughout six months, according to the topics nutrition and healthy eating, the importance of drinking water and healthy cooking activities. After each session, teachers were encouraged to develop activities in class focused on the learned topics. Sociodemographic, anthropometric, dietary, and physical activity assessments were performed at baseline and at the end of the intervention. In the intervention group the increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) z-score was significantly lower than in the control group (p = 0.009); fewer proportion of children became overweight in the intervened group compared with the control (5.6% vs. 18.4%; p = 0.037). Our study provides further support to decrease the overweight epidemic, involving classroom teachers in a training program and making them dedicated interventionists.
PMCID: PMC3366616  PMID: 22690198
BMI z-score; children; obesity; overweight; trained teachers; health promotion
19.  Nutrition and physical activity programs for obesity treatment (PRONAF study): methodological approach of the project 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:1100.
At present, scientific consensus exists on the multifactorial etiopatogenia of obesity. Both professionals and researchers agree that treatment must also have a multifactorial approach, including diet, physical activity, pharmacology and/or surgical treatment. These two last ones should be reserved for those cases of morbid obesities or in case of failure of the previous ones. The aim of the PRONAF study is to determine what type of exercise combined with caloric restriction is the most appropriate to be included in overweigth and obesity intervention programs, and the aim of this paper is to describe the design and the evaluation methods used to carry out the PRONAF study.
One-hundred nineteen overweight (46 males) and 120 obese (61 males) subjects aged 18–50 years were randomly assigned to a strength training group, an endurance training group, a combined strength + endurance training group or a diet and physical activity recommendations group. The intervention period was 22 weeks (in all cases 3 times/wk of training for 22 weeks and 2 weeks for pre and post evaluation). All subjects followed a hypocaloric diet (25-30% less energy intake than the daily energy expenditure estimated by accelerometry). 29–34% of the total energy intake came from fat, 14–20% from protein, and 50–55% from carbohydrates. The mayor outcome variables assesed were, biochemical and inflamatory markers, body composition, energy balance, physical fitness, nutritional habits, genetic profile and quality of life. 180 (75.3%) subjects finished the study, with a dropout rate of 24.7%. Dropout reasons included: personal reasons 17 (28.8%), low adherence to exercise 3 (5.1%), low adherence to diet 6 (10.2%), job change 6 (10.2%), and lost interest 27 (45.8%).
Feasibility of the study has been proven, with a low dropout rate which corresponds to the estimated sample size. Transfer of knowledge is foreseen as a spin-off, in order that overweight and obese subjects can benefit from the results. The aim is to transfer it to sports centres. Effectiveness on individual health-related parameter in order to determine the most effective training programme will be analysed in forthcoming publications.
Trial registration NCT01116856
PMCID: PMC3577471  PMID: 23259716
Overweight; Obesity; Caloric restriction; Exercise; Weight loss
20.  The Effects of Rope Training on Lymphocyte ABCA1 Expression, Plasma ApoA-I and HDL-c in Boy Adolescents 
Early obesity and its transfer to the adulthood, increases likelihood incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD). ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABCA1) as a member of the ABC transporters family plays a crucial role in reverse cholesterol transport and CAD prevention.
The current study aimed to investigate ABCA1 expression in lymphocytes, plasma apolipoprotein A-I and HDL-C in response to eight-week interval endurance rope training in overweight and obese boy adolescents.
Patients and Methods
Thirty students (17.3 ± 1.1 yr, 85.73 ± 11.68 kg and 28.41 ± 2.36 kg / m²) volunteered and were randomly assigned into training (n= 15) and control (n = 15) groups. Exercise protocol was interval endurance rope training (8 wk, 4 d/wk and 40 min/d). Cell hemolysis and sensitive Elisa method was used for Lymphocyte ABAC1 protein expression.t-test was employed.
The independent-samples T-Test results showed that after 8 weeks IERT, the levels of lymphocyte ABCA1 expression (P = 0/001) and VO2max(P = 0/001) significantly increased and plasma levels of TG (P = 0.017), TC (P = 0.001), LDL-c/HDL-c (P = 0.026),TC/HDL-c (P = 0.002) and measures of BF% (P = 0/015) and BMI (P = 0.042) as anthropometric indicators significantly decreased. Changes of other variables such as increase in ApoA-I, HDL-c and decrease in LDL-c, body weight, were not significant.
The findings of this study proved that eight-week interval endurance rope training can have positive effects on lymphocyte ABCA1 protein expression (as gatekeeper of reverse cholesterol process) and lipid profiles among overweight and obese boy adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3693670  PMID: 23825977
ABCA1; Apolipoprotein A-I; Rope Training; Overweight and Obese Boy Adolescents
21.  School-Based Health Center Intervention Improves Body Mass Index in Overweight and Obese Adolescents 
Journal of Obesity  2013;2013:575016.
Adolescents Committed to Improvement of Nutrition and Physical Activity (ACTION) was undertaken to determine feasibility of a school-based health center (SBHC) weight management program. Two urban New Mexico SBHCs were randomized to deliver ACTION or standard care. ACTION consisted of eight visits using motivational interviewing to improve eating and physical activity behavior. An educational nutrition and physical activity DVD for students and a clinician toolkit were created for use as menu of options. Standard care consisted of one visit with the SBHC provider who prescribed recommendations for healthy weight. Sixty nondiabetic overweight/obese adolescents were enrolled. Measures included BMI percentile, waist circumference, insulin resistance by homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR), blood pressure, triglycerides, and HDL-C levels. Pre- to postchanges for participants were compared between groups. Fifty-one students (mean age 15 years, 62% female, 75% Hispanic) completed pre- and postmeasures. ACTION students (n = 28) had improvements in BMI percentile (P = 0.04) and waist circumference (P = 0.04) as compared with students receiving standard care (n = 23). No differences were found between the two groups in blood pressure, HOMA-IR, triglycerides, and HDL-C. The ACTION SBHC weight management program was feasible and demonstrated improved outcomes in BMI percentile and waist circumference.
PMCID: PMC3622307  PMID: 23589771
22.  Effects of 12- and 24-Week Multimodal Interventions on Physical Activity, Nutritional Behaviors, and Body Mass Index and Its Psychological Predictors in Severely Obese Adolescents at Risk for Diabetes 
The Permanente Journal  2010;14(3):29-37.
Background: Although 7% of US adolescents have impaired fasting glucose, a precursor of type 2 diabetes, research has suggested that few interventions for obese adolescents at risk for diabetes have been effective. Therefore, pediatricians seek effective behavioral treatments for referral for this age group.
Objective: We wanted to determine the effects of two different durations of nutritional and exercise treatments on changes in nutrition, physical activity, body mass index (BMI), and psychological predictors of BMI change in overweight and obese adolescents at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Methods: We obtained data from 64 pediatrician-referred patients with diabetes risk factors (mean age, 14.1 years; BMI, ≥99th percentile.) Study participants were assigned to nutrition and exercise treatments for 12 weeks (n = 35) or 24 weeks (n = 29). A specific weight-loss goal was given only for the 24-week group.
Results: Both treatments demonstrated significant within-group changes over 12 weeks in days per week of physical activity of at least 60 minutes, physical self-concept, general self, and overall mood. However, they failed to demonstrate significant 12-week increases in fruit and vegetable intake, decreases in sweetened-beverage consumption, or decreases in BMI. Between-group differences were found only in mood changes in favor of the 12-week treatment. In the 24-week treatment, BMI change from week 12 to week 24 was significantly better than corresponding normative data (d = 0.37). Physical self-concept, general self, and mood scores at week 12 explained a significant portion of the variance in BMI change (R2 = 0.13, p = 0.04).
Conclusion: Nutrition education alone may be insufficient for nutrition behavior change. Behavioral treatment lasting longer than 12 weeks and having a specific weight-loss goal may be useful for BMI improvements, and attention to participants' self-concept and mood may be important treatment considerations.
PMCID: PMC2937842  PMID: 20844702
23.  Factors influencing attendance in a structured physical activity program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in an urban setting: a mixed methods process evaluation 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience higher rates of obesity, chronic disease, and are less active than non-Indigenous Australian women. Lifestyle programs designed to increase physical activity and encourage healthy eating are needed to ameliorate this disparity. The aim of this study was to identify participants’ perceived barriers and enablers to attend group exercise classes as part of a 12-week fitness program.
To understand the factors that influence attendance, a mixed method process evaluation was undertaken in which a quantitative measure of attendance in the group exercise classes was used to identify cases for further qualitative investigation. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women aged 18 to 64 years were recruited to a research trial of a fitness program. The 12-week program included two 60-minute group exercise classes per week, and four nutrition education workshops. Semi-structured interviews were conducted at program completion. Participants were stratified by attendance, and interviews from the highest and lowest 25 percentiles analysed. Rigour was strengthened through use of multiple data analysts, member checking and prolonged engagement in the field.
Analyses of the post-program interviews revealed that participants enrolled in the program primarily for the perceived health benefits and all (with one exception) found the program met their needs and expectations. The atmosphere of classes was positive and comfortable and they reported developing good relationships with their fellow participants and program staff. Low attendees described more barriers to attendance, such as illness and competing work and family obligations, and were more likely to report logistical issues, such as inconvenient venue or class times.
Attendance to the ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Fitness Program’ was primarily influenced by the participant’s personal health, logistics and competing obligations. Low attendees reported more barriers during the 12-week period and identified fewer enabling factors than high attendees.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12610000224022
PMCID: PMC3561158  PMID: 23347750
Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander; Physical activity; Women; Lifestyle program; Health promotion; Barriers; Facilitators; Participation
24.  Exercise Training in Children and Adolescents with Cystic Fibrosis: Theory into Practice 
Physical activity and exercise training play an important role in the clinical management of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Exercise training is more common and recognized as an essential part of rehabilitation programmes and overall CF care. Regular exercise training is associated with improved aerobic and anaerobic capacity, higher pulmonary function, and enhanced airway mucus clearance. Furthermore, patients with higher aerobic fitness have an improved survival. Aerobic and anaerobic training may have different effects, while the combination of both have been reported to be beneficial in CF. However, exercise training remains underutilised and not always incorporated into routine CF management. We provide an update on aerobic and anaerobic responses to exercise and general training recommendations in children and adolescents with CF. We propose that an active lifestyle and exercise training are an efficacious part of regular CF patient management.
PMCID: PMC2945676  PMID: 20886030
25.  Action Schools! BC: A Socioecological Approach to Modifying Chronic Disease Risk Factors in Elementary School Children 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2006;3(2):A60.
Childhood physical inactivity and obesity are serious public health threats. Socioecological approaches to addressing these threats have been proposed. The school is a critical environment for promoting children's health and provides the opportunity to explore the impact of a socioecological approach.
Thirty percent of children in British Columbia, Canada, are overweight or obese, and 50% of youths are not physically active enough to yield health benefits.
Action Schools! BC, a socioecological model, was developed to create 1) an elementary school environment where students are provided with more opportunities to make healthy choices and 2) a supportive community and provincial environment to facilitate change at the school and individual levels.
The environment in British Columbia for school- and provincial-level action on health behaviors improved. Focus group and project tracking results indicated that the Action Schools! BC model enhanced the conceptual use of knowledge and was an influencing factor. Political will and public interest were also cited as influential factors.
The Action Schools! BC model required substantial and demanding changes in the approach of the researchers, policy makers, and support team toward health promotion. Despite challenges, Action Schools! BC provides a good example of how to enhance knowledge exchange and multilevel intersectoral action in chronic disease prevention.
PMCID: PMC1563946  PMID: 16539801

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