An Associated Press review of scientific studies examining 57 school nutrition education programs found that nutrition education programs alone usually fail in getting kids to change eating habits. Just four studies showed any real success in changing the way kids eat or any promise as weapons against the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. This is particularly disappointing as the federal government will spend approximately 1 billion dollars in federal funds for nutrition education programs next year.
Doctors like Tom Robinson, who directs the Center for Healthy Weight at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University, said those studies aren't needed. The research has already shown that nutrition education programs alone don't work.
"I think the money could be better spent on programs that are more behaviorally oriented, as opposed to those that are educationally oriented, or studies that just describe the problem over and over again," he said.
There may be pieces of solutions found in limited studies currently being tested around the country. In some situations, obese and overweight children can lose weight and get healthy through rigorous hospital and clinic-based interventions that involve regular check-ins, family involvement, scheduled exercise and nutrition education.
School programs that increase physical activity are also more likely to have an impact o childhood obesity than nutrition education programs according to the AP research review.