Almost one-third of Canadian teens are overweight or obese, with more reaching an unhealthy weight each year.
Faced with the short and long-term health consequences of this trend, governments and health agencies around the world are working to find the best approaches to getting our young people healthy.
Public Health Ontario's 2012 report, Addressing Obesity in Children and Youth: Evidence to Guide Action for Ontario, offers some key insights into what works and what doesn't.
The report summarizes the findings from 40 reviews of intervention strategies from around the world and reveals the key components of the most effective approaches to combating unhealthy weight.
We've pulled ten of these components from the report for parents who are facing this issue in their home. For more detail, read the full report.
Top Ten Intervention Strategies for Obesity
Interventions were more likely to be effective if they:
- Targeted both physical activity and healthy eating;
- Involved parents;
- Were designed to be culturally sensitive;
- Had effective staff training and sustainability;
- Used participatory activities and training in behaviour techniques (e.g., self-monitoring) or coping skills;
- Were done in collaboration with community programs or facilities;
- Increased sessions of physical activity throughout the school week;
- Modified the food environment of schools to improve nutritional quality of school foods;
- Were set within environments and cultures that supported healthy eating and physical activity, and when they combined education with modifications to the school environment;
- Were longer in duration rather than short term.