A University of Minnesota project has shown that training and support for low-income parents can help reduce obesity in children who are most at risk, offering hope at a time of rising concern about overweight American youth. University researchers offered home visits, health classes and phone check-ins to more than 250 low-income parents, then compared the weight levels and health habits of their preschool-aged children with those from families in a control group. While weight levels did not drop measurably for all the children, the supports did help two key subgroups. Weight levels improved over three years in Hispanic children — who historically have been much more likely to be obese — and among children who were already overweight. “I think it’s a success,” said Simone French, a childhood nutrition researcher at the U who led the study. “It showed us that the ones who are most receptive to these type of activities, the ones we’re really trying to focus on, did well.” The U was one of four institutions that received federal funding in 2010 to determine if educational or social support programs could reduce childhood obesity — a significant public health problem in the United States because obese… Read full this story
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