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Study: reading helps obese kids shed pounds
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A new study suggested that reading certain books concerning healthy lifestyle and weight management guidance can be useful in helping obese kids shed the extra pounds, according to news reports Monday.

The research is the first "to show a relationship between reading and making positive, healthy lifestyle changes," said study author Alexandra C. Russell, a fourth-year medical student at Duke University School of Medicine.

For the study, researchers at Duke University asked obese females ages 9 to 13 who participated in a weight loss program to read a novel called Lake Rescue to see what would happen to their body mass index.

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.

Six month later, the researchers found the 31 reading girls experienced a significant decrease in their BMI by 0.71 percent compared to an increase of 0.05 percent in their peers who did not read the book.

According to federal statistics, 16 percent of American children ages 6 to 19 are either obese or overweight.

"Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic problem in this country," Russell said. "We need to find ways to appeal to a large population in an effective way."

(Agencies via Xinhua October 6, 2008)

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