Fiction can inspire teenaged girls to cut down weight

February 9th, 2010 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Feb 9 (IANS) Girls enrolled in a healthy lifestyles programme had more success reducing their weight if they read a book with a fictional character as a role model, according to a new study.
Researchers studied 81 obese girls enrolled in a programme providing lifestyle and obesity management counselling in a clinical office setting.

Some girls were given a book featuring an overweight girl who, through her adventures, improves her self-esteem and learns about nutrition and physical activity.

Other girls were given a book with similar characters that did not address these issues. A third group of girls were not given a book as part of their counselling.

Two months after the intervention, the girls who read the book geared to nutrition and physical activity had reduced their body mass index (BMI), height to weight ratio percentile significantly more than the other two groups.

The girls who read the alternate book reduced their BMI percentile more than the group with no book, says a release of the American Academy of Paediatrics.

The authors conclude that age-appropriate literature can encourage girls to read as part of a healthy lifestyle, and if they can identify with the subject matter, it can motivate them to make positive changes in their eating habits and physical activity levels.

These findings are slated for publication in the March issue of Paediatrics.

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