The Impact of Lunch Program on Obesity among School-Age Children: A Scoping Review
Context: Obesity is one of the most significant issues among school ages children from both developed and developing countries. Poor eating behavior and lack of physical activity are among the main causes of obesity in school ages children. It is known that the school period is the pivotal time for adopting interventions such as healthy eating and more physical activities for a long time.
Aim: This review was conducted to evaluate the impact of the school-lunch program on obesity among school-aged children.
Methods: Five databases, such as Google Scholar, PubMed, ScienceDirect, CINAHL, and MEDLINE, were employed to search the research studies conducted on the interventions that had school lunch programs to decrease the obesity issue among children. Ten relevant studies were extracted and included in this review. The inclusion criteria for the research study in this review were the research papers published after 2010. The exclusion criterion was the research studies that did not provide relevant information about the study's objectives.
Results: The findings of the studies indicated several interventions to improve the eating behavior of the children as well as physical fitness. The practical-based interventions include the food items in the school lunches, such as more intake of fruits and vegetables and avoiding the intake of packed items that were found useful in the intake of nutrients. Besides, the interventions related to increasing physical activities, such as sports, were provided with positive results in preventing obesity among children. In addition, the education programs for the parents and children were also useful in reducing obesity issues as they increased the children's and the parent's knowledge about healthy eating.
Conclusion: Most reviewed studies targeting obesity prevention focused on dietary and exercise behaviors affecting anthropometric measures. Most school-based intervention programs positively affect the school children's healthy lifestyle and anthropometric measurements. Future studies are needed to include behavioral therapy interventions for children and education for the parents, as they are the main agents for improving the children's nutrition habits.
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