Has Denmark Cracked The Code On Childhood Obesity?
Perhaps more than any other epidemic, childhood obesity is an incredibly visible not only in the United States, but across the world. As of 2012, more than a third of children and adolescents were defined as obese — a number that had more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents, according to the Centers of Disease Prevention and Control.
Even though the problem can seem nearly insurmountable at times, there are small victories being won in the war against unhealthy weights, particularly in the case of childhood obesity. In contrast to rising concerns, U.S. federal health officials say that the rate for obesity in 2- to 5-year-old children dropped 43 percent over the past decade. Though researchers did caution that this wasn’t the norm for obesity in general, most rates stayed flat and obesity even increased in women over 60, reported the New York Times.
The American team trying to lead the struggle against childhood obesity at home might also be able to take some notes from a Danish team who is finding extremely high rates of success in programs that attempt integrate wellness into the day-to-day lives of children. Dr. Jens Christian Holm, one of the Danish project’s leaders, says that early intervention could lead to much more fulfilling lives for kids who start off life heavier than their peers.
“In general, obese children are neglected. They are often lonely and many of them don’t participate in activities with their peers. They lack self-confidence. With this scheme there is a real hope they can lose weight and have a good quality of life.”
While many programs seek to address the problem of childhood obesity through rigorous exercise programs or to-the-calorie diets, the Danish program is attempting to upheave the lives of participants entirely — making active lifestyle and eating habits a natural part of their lives, a strategy that is having a smashing success in Denmark, reported BBC News.
“The program requires wholesale changes in lifestyle to defeat the body’s natural resistance to losing fat, and each child has a personalized treatment plan which targets 15-20 daily habits. Research showed that by following the program, 70% of patients maintained their weight loss for four years. This success rate was achieved with an average of just over five hours of medical consultation per child per year.”
For a set of the rules implemented by the Danish childhood obesity study, you can look below.
Do you think these are good tips on combatting childhood obesity?