Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Obesity in school-age children is not just a problem in the affluent West – this issue if of growing importance in countries where one may not quite expect this to be an issue like South Asia or Africa.
Now, researchers from the University of Montreal and McGill University have released a comprehensive practical guide to developing and implementing obesity prevention programs for school-aged children and adolescents in developing countries.
As the authors discuss,
“What is most challenging in low and middle-income countries is the urgency of preventing obesity while also tackling the problem of malnutrition. Again, the school setting is likely the most appropriate to address the dual burden of malnutrition, but interventions are needed at different stages of the lifecycle, beginning with girls, in order to break the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition and its impact on vulnerability to obesity and other chronic diseases.”
This guide is a product of TRANSNUT (for nutrition transition), a WHO Collaborating Centre comprised of 10 researchers from the Department of Nutrition and other units of the University of Montréal.
In the words of the authors,
“This manual is designed to provide a hands-on guide for health and nutrition professionals to plan, implement and evaluate obesity prevention programmes for school-age children and adolescents in developing countries, particularly in the school setting. Several practical tools are suggested, including for the assessment of obesity and of its proximal determinants, that is, eating and physical activity patterns. Models and conceptual frameworks are discussed because action has to be grounded in sound theory. We provide a 5-step guide to planning healthy nutrition promotion and obesity prevention interventions, which we adapted from the PRECEDE-PROCEED of Green. The steps consist of community and individual assessments, identification of targets for change(community, family, individual level), choice of objectives, design of programme methods, and procedures for theevaluation. In order to foster effective programmes to promote healthy nutrition and lifestyle among school-agechildren and adolescents, we discuss theoretical models of behaviours change that may be appropriate (Health Belief Model, Theory of Planned Behaviour, Social Cognitive Theory, Stages of Change, Transtheoretical Model).”
This document should provide an interesting read to anyone interested in the prevention of childhood obesity in developing countries or elsewhere.