A special program enrolling schools in the fight against obesity has started delivering results in Michigan, a Midwestern state in the US.
A pilot program was started in one of the middle schools in Michigan three years ago in order to encourage healthy eating habits among school children.
Today nearly five public schools in Ann Abhor are actively participating in this three year old program called 'Healthy School.'
This is being implemented in collaboration with the Michigan Health System. Around twelve hundred sixth graders are being taught different ways and means of tackling obesity.
In the program different methods are used to teach the children. They have a 20-minute lesson, striking props are used to teach the children, lectures are conducted by health conscious speakers and the children are persuaded to exercise to keep fit.
They are also taught good eating habits and what constitutes healthy food. The school administrations are also advised to make available healthier food to their students.
The results till now are remarkably encouraging. Many children participating in this twelve week program have lost considerable weight. Their blood pressure and cholesterol level too have come down.
Several studies have shown that children are becoming increasingly vulnerable to overweight and obesity around the world.
At least 155 million school-age children worldwide were overweight or obese, the International Obesity TaskForce had said in 2005 itself.
Endorsing the report, the British Medical Association had remarked, "Interventions at the family or school level will need to be matched by changes in the social and cultural context so that the benefits can be sustained and enhanced. Such prevention strategies will require a coordinated effort between the medical community, health administrators, teachers, parents, food producers and processors, retailers and caterers, advertisers and the media, recreation and sport planners, urban architects, city planners, politicians and legislators."
Other experts have stressed that children themselves should be educated on the relationship between lifestyle and health and accordingly change their food habits.