Embed Weight Loss Messages in Books?
This is clever, albeit... evil. BFBer Viola discovered that a Duke University study looked at whether fat kids reading a book with a weight-loss story line ended up losing weight. And:
In the study, the researchers assigned 31 severely overweight girls in a weight-management program to read a book called Lake Rescue, part of a series called Beacon Street Girls. The girls were all aged 9 to 13.
The researchers then compared the body mass indexes of girls in the three groups up to six months later. On average, the girls who read Lake Rescue gained better control of their weight, moving from the 98th to the 97th percentile in a range of weights, [Study Author Alexandra C.] Russell said.
(Above from the WaPo version of the article.) The book itself is described best in the LA Times article:
The book in question is "Lake Rescue," part of the Beacon Street Girls series of books, aimed at tween girls, that tackles issues such as cyber bullying and divorce. In this book, an overweight girl goes to an outdoor adventure camp with her class. Although worried about being picked on for being heavy, she finds a role model who teaches her about becoming healthier through eating right and trying new activities.
Interestingly, the HealthDay version of the article that I quoted has a more ambiguous take than the LA Times Blogs one. The LA Times reports on the exact weight lost:
The "Lake Rescue" group decreased its BMI scores 0.71%, the group that read another book decreased its BMI scores .33%, and the group that had no intervention increased its BMI scores .05%.
So the girls who read a non-weight-loss-related book lost weight, too. Maybe the fact that all of the participants were already enrolled in Duke's weight loss program had a little something to do with that?
All told, it's interesting stuff. Correlation does not equal causation, of course, so it remains to be seen if this is just a big coincidence (and, you know, all of the participants were already in a weight loss environment - no small thing, this.) It'd be even better to see books embed HAES and pro-size messages though, wouldn't it?