Have the Danes cracked childhood obesity?
Childhood obesity has become a global epidemic, but it is not easy to treat. Now a scheme proven to help children shed pounds by asking them and their families to make numerous lifestyle changes has been adopted across Denmark.
A Danish paediatrician claims his pilot project has made a significant breakthrough in the battle against childhood obesity.
The scheme, in the town of Holbaek, has treated 1,900 patients and helped 70% of them to maintain normal weight by adjusting about 20 elements of their lifestyles.
The way it tackles all aspects of the children’s lives – and those of their families – sets it apart from traditional “small steps” approaches to losing weight.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three children is now overweight and the incidence of obesity amongst adolescents has quadrupled over the past 30 years.
Dr Jens Christian Holm, who runs the scheme, urges other nations to learn from their experiences in confronting this global health challenge.
“In general, obese children are neglected. They are often lonely and many of them don’t participate in activities with their peers. They lack self-confidence. With this scheme there is a real hope they can lose weight and have a good quality of life.”
Obesity is an illness that is very hard for children to fight on their own, he says.
“We create the environment and tools with which the children and their families can overcome this.”
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