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Effects of a physical activity and nutritional intervention in overweight and obese children through an educational and recreational camp

Suliane Beatriz Rauber, Henrique de Oliveira Castro, Alcyane Marinho, Joyce Bomfim Vicente, Henrique Lima Ribeiro, Luciana Zaranza Monteiro, Isabella Reis Praça, Herbert Gustavo Simoes, Carmen Silvia Grubert Campbell
Nutrition and Health 2018, 24 (3): 145-152

BACKGROUND: Educational camps have hosted millions of children around the world. However, few studies have described their benefits on weight control and health promotion for overweight and obese children.

AIM: To investigate the impact of a health educational program for children composed of 5 days of camp and a 12-week follow up on the physical activity level, sedentary behaviour, anthropometric data and food intake in overweight and obese children.

METHODS: 12 children attended the Health Educational Program for Children divided into two phases. Phase 1 consisted of pre-assessments and Phase 2 corresponded to 12 weeks of follow up. Physical activity level, sedentary behaviour and food intake were assessed throughout the questionnaire.

RESULTS: After the follow up, 25% of the children became active (>1500 and <3000 Metabolic Equivalent of Tasks per week). In contrast, the number of sedentary children (<600 Metabolic Equivalent of Tasks per week) decreased by 15% and insufficiently active (600-1500 Metabolic Equivalent of Tasks per week) increased by 15%. The physical activity level of leisure time increased significantly throughout weekdays (26.0%) and weekends (14.1%) after the follow up compared to before the camp. Sedentary behaviour showed a significant reduction of 177.14 and 41.43 minutes on weekdays and weekends, respectively. Before the camp, the consumption of sugar and sweets was out of control (100% inadequate), and after the intervention, 58.4% started to consume these foods in a balanced way.

CONCLUSIONS: The Health Educational Program for Children (5-day camp and the 12 weeks of follow up) contributed to an increase in the physical activity level and a reduction in the sedentary behaviour and anthropometric measures in overweight and obese children.


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