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A School-based Health Program Focused on Treating and Preventing Obesity

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Objective: We aimed to develop a program to treat and prevent obesity in schoolchildren, focused on improvements in physical fitness – both cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness. Methods: We assessed the effects of a school-based program on cardiorespiratory (VO2MAX) and musculoskeletal (Vertical Jump-VJ; Standing Long Jump-SLJ, and Sit-up abdominals-ABS) fitness, and body composition (Body Mass Index-BMI and Waist Circumference-WC). The program was evaluated for 12 weeks, and participants were Mexican children aged from 8 to 12 years attending 4 urban schools. We performed correlations and linear models on baseline data, and non-parametric tests for pairwise comparisons between baseline and after-program measurements. Results: A total of 321 children participated in our study (girls; N = 170, boys; N = 151). At baseline, BMI showed negative effects on physical fitness variables; VO2MAX, VJ and SLJ. After program, children significantly improved WC and all cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness variables. Boys who met standards of VO2MAX increased its value from 57% to 96% after the program. Conclusions: Mexican children showed important improvements in physical fitness upon completion of the program. This study supports setting up integral school-based programs as a strategy for obesity prevention and treatment.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2020

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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