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Weight Program Reduces Harmful Behavior in Girls

Fewer adolescent girls who participated in program reported harmful weight-control behaviors

THURSDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A school-based program to prevent obesity is effective in reducing harmful weight-control behaviors in adolescent girls, such as self-induced vomiting and use of diet pills, researchers report in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

S. Bryn Austin, Sc.D., from Children's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues randomly assigned 749 girls and 702 boys from 13 middle schools (6th and 7th grade) to either a program designed to reduce disordered weight-control behaviors (self-induced vomiting, laxatives, diet pills) or no intervention. The program consisted of health messages to students during school and a program to help schools address nutrition and physical activity.

The researchers found that significantly fewer girls in the program reported disordered weight-control behaviors (1.2 versus 3.6 percent, odds ratio 0.33). There was no effect noted in the boys, the report indicates.

"Results add compelling support for the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary, school-based obesity prevention intervention to prevent disordered weight-control behaviors in early adolescent girls," Austin and colleagues conclude.

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