Utter et al. (2011) evaluated the effectiveness of a youth-led school-based intervention aimed to reduce and prevent childhood obesity. Students were recruited from elementary schools in South Auckland, New Zealand that agreed to participate in the Living for Life study. The study consisted of 3881 children who were randomly assigned to the intervention or the comparison group based on the school they attended. Six schools participated in the study, four intervention and two observation schools. Parental consent and child assent were signed before participation in the intervention began.
In 2005, baseline data were collected for all students in the study. The intervention was conducted from 2006 to 2008. At the end of 2008, follow up measurements were taken. All students in the intervention were ages nine through 13 but only student’s ages 11-13 were used at the follow up assessment due to previous exposure to the program. The intervention was designed and implemented by the School Student Health Council. To oversee The Student Health Council an intervention coordinator was employed to facilitate the program. The intervention provided students with the opportunity to create physical fitness activities, build quality relationships, and develop a strength-training program for other students.
All participants completed a self reported nutrition and physical activity survey questionnaire pre and post intervention. Students had BMI, BMI z-score, weight and body fat percentage recorded for anthropometric measures pre and post intervention. The participants also were evaluated using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory.
Using the repeated measures ANOVA, the authors reported no statistically significant effects in anthropometric measures for the students in the intervention and control groups (p>0.05 for both). There were no statistically significant intervention effects on the quality of life measures or behavioral outcomes (p>0.05 for both).
Utter et al. (2011) believed that the youth-led intervention had a positive result on students’ perceptions and behaviors even though it did not show a decrease in body size. The authors also concluded a main limit to the study was that 60% of the students in the intervention were overweight or obese and therefore it was possible the intervention was not suitable for those children. Utter et al. (2011) proposed using younger children in the intervention could be more effective.
Kain et al. (2004) investigated the impact of an obesity prevention program focused on improving adiposity and increasing physical fitness levels in children. Participants were recruited from five schools in three Chilean cities. In order for the schools to be eligible for participation they must have been a primary level public school, have students who have a full-day schedule, low socioeconomic status and no previous participation in health promotion programs. The study consisted of 2375 children who...