According to a new study published in this month's issue of "Pediatrics," overweight children can prevent further weight gain simply by walking another 2,000 steps a day and reducing their calorie intake by 100.
The study - which was conducted by the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center - featured 216 families with at least one overweight child. Families were placed in either a lifestyle intervention group or a control group. Those in the intervention group walked 2,000 more steps each day and eliminated 100 calories a day from their diet, primarily by replacing sugar with Splenda and consuming beverages sweetened with sucralose. The control group, however, was only asked to monitor their diet and exercise levels. The subjects were then tracked over six months. Results showed that children in the intervention group maintained or reduced their BMI-for-age at a better rate than those in the self-monitoring group.
"With just two simple steps, overweight children in these families were able to achieve positive results," said Dr. James O. Hill, co-founder of America On the Move Foundation and professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center. "Our results give parents ammunition to deliver a realistic and tangible way for the whole family to live healthier."
According to health statistics, one-third of all children in the United States are either overweight or dangerously close to becoming so. This is apparently the first time clinical evidence has shown that overweight children can effectively prevent excess weight gain by making small changes to their lifestyle. Researchers are hoping this news can help counter America's obesity crisis.