New Study Shows Key Factors in Preventing and Reducing Child Obesity

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New findings from a child obesity study support the Health Enhancement Systems All In worksite wellness challenge approach. It teaches families to cut back on soda, reduce screen time, and eat meals together, along with other healthy behaviors.

All In Family Health Worksite Wellness Challenge Can Help Reduce Child Obesity

All In Family Health Worksite Wellness Challenge Can Help Reduce Child Obesity

Targeting employees for wellness initiatives without including dependents is a missed opportunity.

The Indiana University study, Predictors for Persistent Overweight, Deteriorated Weight, and Improved Weight Status During 18 Months in a School-Based Longitudinal Cohort, involved 5309 students in 11 Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois schools over an 18-month intervention. In addition to identifying overweight and weight gain factors, results showed participation in team sports and eating frequent meals are keys to helping students achieve a healthy weight. Researchers also noted that students in low socio-economic schools were more likely to be or become overweight — possibly due to more nutritious food and physical activity opportunities at affluent schools.

While the results aren’t surprising, they emphasize the powerful influence that parents have on family well-being. “This study sends a clear message to parents and school districts: limiting kids’ access to soda and screen time, encouraging sports participation, and teaching them to eat regular meals all promote a healthy weight,” remarks Dean Witherspoon, President and founder of Health Enhancement Systems, which developed All In. “And it underscores the strategies we’ve applied in employee wellness programs for over 15 years. It also gives parents another compelling reason to change their own behavior — so they can become healthy-weight role models,” notes Witherspoon.

The All In Family Health & Wellness challenge encourages simple everyday behaviors — like being physically active, reducing screen time, eating more produce, and sharing in family meals — that even young children can practice. Families climb a virtual mountain, earning elevation by completing health-boosting daily and weekly activities. An inclusive, flexible definition of family gives the program wide appeal, and inspiring daily content supports action in 3 main areas: Move More, Eat for Energy, and Connect. The Family Table offers healthy recipes, conversation starters, and ideas for involving everyone in meal planning and cooking. And All In’s Ranger Redd mascot offers expert advice to help families reach the summit. The overall theme is having fun while moving toward better health… together.

Since 1980, obesity rates have nearly tripled among children and teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “No parent wants their children to suffer the devastating physical, psychological, or social hardships of obesity,” explains Witherspoon. “By equipping parents with the skills and resources to make wellness a family effort, social support for the hard work of behavior change is built in — and everyone is more likely to adopt healthy behaviors for good. That’s what All In is about.” Organizations like Andersen Corporation, City of Kansas, Blue Ridge Healthcare, and Monterey County School Insurance Group have already implemented All In through their employee wellness programs — with great feedback and results. “Targeting employees for wellness initiatives without including dependents is a missed opportunity,” adds Witherspoon. “Reaching out to families not only makes employee wellness programs more effective — enhancing their potential impact on the bottom line — it’s the right thing to do. All In strengthens family relationships while helping employees and dependents adopt healthy habits for the long haul.”

Human resource managers can learn more about All In at or by calling 800.326.2317.

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Dean Witherspoon
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