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Benefits of Anti-Soft Drink Campaign Diminish Over Time

Year-long intervention reduced overweight and obesity in youths, but effect not sustained two years later

TUESDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A year-long program promoting a healthy diet and discouraging soft-drink intake in children aged 7 to 11 helped reduce rates of overweight and obesity, but these benefits were not sustained after a two-year follow-up, according to a report published online Oct. 8 in BMJ.

Janet James, health promotion specialist nurse at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in Bournemouth, U.K., and colleagues conducted a three-year follow-up of the Christchurch obesity prevention project in schools (CHOPPS) program that encouraged healthy diets and discouraged carbonated drinks at six schools in southwest England. The year-long program produced a significant reduction in the number of children aged 7 to 11 becoming overweight or obese.

Two years after the end of the intervention, the researchers obtained measurements from 434 of the original 644 children who participated in the school-based dietary intervention. The proportion of children who were overweight increased in both the original intervention group and the control group, with a body mass index increase of 1.88 in the intervention group and an index increase of 2.14 in the control group.

"The original project provided hope that a simple intervention could be beneficial in preventing obesity, but our new results show no effect two years after the end of the intervention," the authors write. "It remains unclear whether specific interventions or those that focus on all aspects of the diet and physical activity are the most successful."

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