Reading Changes Body Mass Index in Girls

This study in Pediatrics is very creative and intriguing. Thirty one of 81 girls, ages 9-13, were randomly assigned to read an intervention novel which was a story about an overweight girl who discovers improved health and self worth. Thirty three girls read a control novel and 17 girls read no novel. Follow up occurred 1-2 months later with the girls who read the intervention novel showing a significant greater reduction in body mass index (BMI) compared to the control group. Girls in both the intervention and control group had a significantly lower BMI change than the girls who read no book. The authors concluded that more research is needed to see if this would help other overweight and obese girls.

I equate this to being similar to a more mature social story combined with positive affirmations. Seems like a great, simple way to empower girls to change their lifestyle habits independently.

Reference: Bravender, Terrill, Russell, Alexandra, Chung, Richard J., Armstrong, Sarah C. A “Novel” Intervention: A Pilot Study of Children’s Literature and Healthy Lifestyles Pediatrics 2010 125: e513-e517