Healthy eating videos can help obese children lose weight, study finds

Watching videos on how to cook, eat less and make healthier food choices can help obese children lose weight, reduce their risk of diabetes and be happier, according to a study.

The doctor behind the findings believes they may help treat childhood obesity because they show that online health care can be just as effective as in-person appointments.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Felix Reschke, from the Children’s Hospital in Hannover, Germany, studied 108 children who followed the video-based weight loss program while the country was in its second Covid-19 lockdown at the end of 2020.

The trial resulted in many participants eating far more fruit and vegetables and far less sugary foods such as sweets, snacks and soft drinks. They also reduced the number of meals they ate each day, although they still had an average of 4.1 meals, as a result of the “structured video-based education.”

Overall, two-thirds lost weight and generally showed better health.

The year-long program involved young people watching educational videos about good food choices, how much they should eat at mealtimes and the benefits of being physically active. Participants ranged in age from eight to 17, with an average age of 12.

All were already enrolled in the KiCK outpatient healthy living program for overweight or obese under-18s. It was remodeled due to Covid to be online only.

It also included educational seminars and workshops, as well as online cooking sessions and discussions about difficult topics such as “emotional eating” and the health consequences of obesity, which can include diabetes and an increased risk of heart problems , respiratory and joint.

Participants showed “significant improvements” in five key measures of their health. They had a lower body mass index, a reduced risk of developing diabetes, less cholesterol in their bloodstream, better results on a six-minute test of their walking speed, and improved mental well-being.

“Successful treatment of childhood obesity is difficult work, but we have shown that it is possible to help adolescents with pre-existing obesity using video-based training,” said Reschke. “Participants showed improvements in their dietary choices, appetite control and portion sizes, which were reflected in better measures of their metabolic health and quality of life.”

The results showed that virtual care could help patients as much as face-to-face consultations, he added.

“Our results are very hopeful that this approach can be a useful and cost-effective model for treating obesity in children. It eliminates the need for regular face-to-face contact, which can be particularly useful for those who have difficulty attending dating. Although we must be careful not to unnecessarily increase the amount of screen time children use. It may be a fine line, but our data suggests that this approach is worthwhile.”

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