Obesity prevention guidelines being ignored

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  Published on Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Obesity prevention guidelines being ignored

Library Home  >  Health, Wellbeing & Nutrition
  Published on Tuesday, 24 October 2017

In more bad news about the declining health of preschool aged children a new study has shown that only one child in 400 adhered to recommended obesity prevention guidelines over the course of a day at home and in their early childhood service.

The study, conducted by the Cininnatti Children's Hospital Medical Centre, evaluated the children across a normal day and found that most children were not receiving the recommended amount of healthy food and physical activity as prescribed by the 5-2-1-0 Guidelines.

The guidelines recommend preschool aged children eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day, view less than two hours screen time, participate in one hour of physical activity and consume no sugar-sweetened beverages.

Researchers found that over the 24 hour time frame just one child adhered to the guidelines:

  • One in every four children had a body mass index that put them in the overweight category.
  • 17 per cent consumed at least five servings of fruits and vegetables.
  • 50 per cent consumed zero sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • 81 per cent had less than two hours of screen time.
  • Fewer than 1 per cent met the activity recommendation.

Lead author on the study Dr Amrik Singh Khalsa says the study proves there is plenty of room for improvement in the diet, activity levels and screen time habits of preschool aged children.

"Preschool children who are overweight or obese have four-fold odds of being overweight or obese as adults. Preventing obesity is critical to averting obesity-associated diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular abnormalities," he said.

The 5-2-1-0 message was devised by the Maine Youth Overweight Collaborative obesity prevention program "Let's Go! 5-2-1-0" and applies for children at home and in early childhood education and care settings. In fact this study is believed to be the first to examine adherence to the 5-2-1-0 guidelines for children in full time care.

Unlike previous studies of the diet and activity guidelines for young children, this study included objective measures. Researchers obtained information on dietary intake, screen time and body mass index at child care and from parents at home and they used electromechanical devices called accelerometers to measure physical activity.

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This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Thursday, 21 January 2021