It was explained that the study would determine as to whether changes in school food services and physical education (PE) classes, along with activities, which encourage healthy behaviours, might reduce the risk of type II diabetes, which is now a days becoming increasingly common as a disease in the youth.
Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D, the director of NIH said, "The alarming rise in obesity and type II diabetes in all age groups poses a major public health crisis for this country. This important study is one component of a multi-faceted research agenda to address this dual epidemic, which threatens the health of our youth and the vitality of our health care system."
Participating schools will be randomly assigned to a program group, which implements the changes, or to a comparison group, which continues to offer food choices and PE programs typically seen in middle schools across the country. Students in the program group will have:
· Healthier choices from the cafeteria and vending machines (e.g., lower fat foods, more fruits and vegetables, and drinks with no added sugar)
· Longer, more intense periods of physical activity
· Activities and awareness campaigns that promote long-term healthy behaviours.
After 2.5 years, all students will be tested for diabetes risk factors, including blood levels of glucose, insulin, and lipids. They will also be measured for fitness level, blood pressure, height, weight, and waist circumference.