Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

Reading: A Novel Way to Lose Weight

How do you convince overweight kids to get serious about losing weight? Get them to read. Dr. Sarah Armstrong, director of the Healthy Lifestyles Program at Duke Children's Hospital, enrolled 31 obese girls in a six-month comprehensive weight-loss program and had them read a novel whose protagonist is an overweight teen who learns to eat and live more healthfully. Another group of girls in the study read a book that did not have an overweight heroine, and a third group read nothing. At the end of the weight-loss program, the girls who had read the book about the overweight character lost more weight than did those in the two other groups. Sometimes, it seems, the most persuasive voices don't have to come from the real world at all.