Recent studies suggest kids tend to gain the most weight in summer, but schools are chastised for providing unhealthy food and beverages, along with decreasing opportunities for physical activity. A new study published in Pediatric Obesity that analyzed data from 2010 to 2015 confirmed that the body mass index of Wisconsin children and adolescents generally rose in the summer and then decreased in the fall, followed by a more modest increase to decrease cycle beginning in February. For adolescents who were heavier, body mass index increased more persistently until spring.
The findings could have important implications for the design and timing of school-based obesity prevention initiatives in the United States.
"Perennial education on healthy eating and regular physical activity makes sense for all kids. If our findings can be confirmed in follow-up studies, they indicate that adolescents who are already affected by obesity may find benefit from additional weight management support delivered at the start of the school year," said lead author Jeffrey VanWormer, PhD, of the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, in Wisconsin.