Growing Public Awareness of Childhood Obesity is having an impact.

Study finds increasing awareness of the childhood obesity epidemic may be contributing to overall reduction in body mass index (BMI), a measurement of weight and height to measure obesity in children. Published in the journal Childhood Obesity

Obesity now affects 17% or 12.5 million of all children and adolescents in the United States - triple the rate from just one generation ago, according to CDC.

The HEALTHY STUDY tested the effects of public health intervention strategy for lowering BMI amongst middle school students. Half of the students (control group) participating underwent no changes, while the other half (intervention group) instituted changes in their physical, nutritional programs including events and educational activities to encourage behavioral change.

Researchers and colleagues from the HEALTHY Study Group were surprised to find that students in both the control and intervention groups had very similar reductions in BMI. Both groups had BMI decrease of more than 4 percent.

"In a research study, we of course want to see a difference between intervention and control groups," says David L. Katz, MD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief of Childhood Obesity and Director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center, "but both groups doing well is clearly a good problem to have!

Both groups experienced similar secular trends in school polices and mandates addressing childhood obesity. Students may have been influenced by being in a large national study, combined with increased public awareness might influence the overall direction towards obesity.