Healthy Lunchbox Challenges Could Be an Innovative Strategy in Preventing Childhood Obesity, Says Dr. Demetrios Gabriel

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In response to an article published by, Dr. Demetrios Gabriel says the Health Lunchbox Challenge could lead the way in preventing childhood obesity.

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Dr. Demetrios Gabriel responds to an article published on February 20 by, which highlights the implementation of a social experiment known as the HLC, or the Healthy Lunchbox Challenge, into kids’ summer camps.

An article published on February 20th by Medical News Today titled “Healthy lunchbox challenge helps influence healthy eating habits in children,” discusses the successful results of implementing the HLC challenge at four children summer camps. Camp attendees were provided with a point-based reward system for purchasing fruits, vegetables, and water. Overall, the researchers conducting the study found that the consumption of healthy food inevitably increased. Michael W. Beets, MEd, MPH, PhD, head of the study, noticed an increased consumption of healthy alternatives over “untargeted foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages and salty snacks.”

The article states that the basic procedures of the HLC, requires a point-award system that only provides rewards for acquiring healthy food. Camp administrators and staff were trained by the study researchers on how to implement the program, receiving instruction on procedures of how to select foods and how to construct award systems.

At the end of the research period, the following results were obtained:

  •     On average, purchases of fresh fruit, vegetables, and water went up by 12 percent, 11 percent and 14 percent respectively.
  •     Purchases of chips and non-100 percent juices went down by 15 percent and 13 percent respectively.

Dr. Demetrios Gabriel says that the success obtained during the Healthy Lunchbox Challenge study proves the importance of intervening in children’s eating habits. “The study shows promising results against a decade’s long upward trend in obesity amongst children,” he explains. “It’s crucial to continue the trend into school cafeterias. Parents are very likely to support the cause and it will be a win for society as a whole.”

Gabriel Pediatrics provides comprehensive pediatric care to children throughout the New York area with practices both in Brooklyn and Staten Island. Our board certified pediatricians and experienced staff help provide a very warm and nurturing environment for both you and your children. Our approach combines the latest treatment methods with the personal attention you should expect from your doctor. Simply put, we understand the importance of communication and trust and we are earning that trust one family at a time.


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Scott Darrohn
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