Investigated whether excessive weight gain could be prevented in overweight children who participated in a fun, family-based, child-oriented program, Families On the Move! (FOM) that encouraged all family members to make 2 small, healthy lifestyle changes. FOM is based on the national weight gain prevention initiative, America On the Move®*.
Background: Physical inactivity and high-fat and high-sugar diets have been suggested to contribute to the increase in childhood obesity. While there is agreement about the urgent need to address the U.S. childhood obesity epidemic, there are few proven effective preventative or therapeutic strategies.
Objective: We investigated whether excessive weight gain could be prevented in overweight (OW) children who participated in a fun, family-based, child-oriented program, Families On the Move! (FOM) that encouraged all family members to make 2 small, healthy lifestyle changes. FOM is based on the national weight gain prevention initiative, America On the Move®*.
Design/Methods: Families with at least 1 OW child (7-14 yrs, 85% BMI) were randomly assigned to the FOM or self-monitor (SM) group. FOM families (n=111) set individual and family-specific goals for making 2 changes: (1) increase physical activity by 2,000 steps/day; (2) eliminate 100 kcals/day from their diets with an emphasis on replacing dietary sugars with SPLENDA®No Calorie Sweetener Products or beverages made with sucralose (SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener). SM families (n=105) were asked to maintain and monitor their usual physical activity and food intake. Both groups measured physical activity using step counters and completed a sweets frequency survey and food diaries to record dietary intake.
Results: On average, both FOM (n=132) and SM (n=117) OW children showed decreases in mean % BMI over 6 months. However, significantly fewer FOM children gained % BMI compared to SM children (32.6% vs 47.2%, P=0.044). Thus, participation in the FOM program was significantly more effective in reducing the number of OW children who gained weight in excess of that attributable to normal growth.
Conclusions: Families On the Move!, a family-based weight gain prevention program that includes small lifestyle changes consisting of increased physical activity and reduced caloric intake by using SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener Products, holds promise as an easily usable tool for preventing excessive weight gain in OW children.
Funded by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC and NIH grant DK42549.
*The third-party trademarks used herein are trademarks of their respective owners.
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