School based intervention is important to reduce risk for diabetes because children spend a significant part of their time there. Also an intervention can be successfully undertaken at school.
Obesity is increasing rapidly in children around the world (especially in developed countries). The whole gamut of obesity-related disorders, such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, and type 2 diabetes which were once rare in children are becoming increasingly common. Until a few years ago, paediatricians hardly diagnosed a child with obesity-related disorders, but now they are trying to learn how to manage these lifestyle disorders. Increase in the rate of these disorders in children has been due to lifestyle changes such as:
- Unhealthy eating: Eating processed and fast foods meals, more snacking, and having calorie-containing beverages.
- Decrease in physical activity: Until some years ago, children used to walk and run, spend time outdoors in the playground. But now they spend more time with computer games and television.
The cause of increase in childhood obesity and diseases such as diabetes is known but the way to deal with these has been harder to figure out.
School based intervention to reduce risk for diabetes
A recent study suggests that improving health, nutrition, and physical education at schools might be able to decrease the rate of childhood obesity, diabetes and other disorders related to obesity in children. This approach is based on the idea that children tend to spend a large part of their day at school.
The study included 4,600 students from 42 middle schools. The children were divided into two groups; group one participated in school-based “interventions”—improvements in nutrition, physical education, and health education while group two didn’t receive any benefits. The researchers monitored the children’s weights for three years.
The aim of the intervention program was to educate students and implement healthy living practices. The children were:
- Given healthier foods in the cafeteria.
- They were made to spend more time in the gym.
- Given health education.
The study at the end of three years noted that students who were in the school-based “interventions” had less abdominal obesity and better insulin levels as compared to students who didn’t receive the benefits. The researchers inferred that the risk of diabetes may be lower in these children. However, there were many limitations in this study and more studies are needed to prove the hypothesis.
It may be right to say that to deal with the effects of unhealthy lifestyle, it is probably critically important to enlist schools as a primary focus as children spend a significant part of their time there. Also an intervention can be successfully undertaken at school.
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