Researchers at Duke University have found that reading the right type of books may help overweight adolescents lose weight.
Obese females ages 9 to 13 already enrolled in a weight loss program were asked to read a novel called “Lake Rescue”.
The book includes healthy lifestyle and weight management guidelines as well as strong role models and positive messages. The book had the help of pediatric experts, researchers say.
After six months, they found that the 31 girls who read “Lake Rescue” had a significant decrease in their body mass index scores compared with the 14 girls who did not read the book, said Alexandra C. Russell, a fourth-year medical student at Duke who led the study.
The book deals with an overweight girl who worries about going on an outdoor school trip. She ends up making friends, improving her self-esteem and learning about appropriate levels of physical activity, Russell said.
"As a pediatrician, I can't count the number of times I tell parents to buy a book that might provide useful advice, yet I've never been able to point to research to back up my recommendations," Dr. Sarah Armstrong, director of Duke's Healthy Lifestyles Program, said in a statement. "This is the first prospective interventional study that found literature can have a positive impact on healthy lifestyle changes in young girls."
More research is needed in order to determine if books with a weight management message could indeed help control obesity.
These findings were presented at the Obesity Society's annual meeting in Phoenix.
I could see where this study may lead to more developments in reading versus weight control. Many teens enjoy reading and often base their role models off of characters in a book. Why not create a character that promotes a healthier lifestyle, especially if teens will look up to this character.