Mason researchers have designed a nutrition education program called “Color My Pyramid” to teach students how to evaluate their dietary intake and activity level. The program incorporates the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPyramid.gov for the Kids Blast-Off Game, a computer game that allows kids to win by fueling their rocket with nutritious foods and a healthy level of physical activity.
More than half of the study participants, ages 9 to 11, were overweight or obese. Analysis showed that the program significantly improved children’s eating habits, increased physical activity levels, lowered blood pressure, and decreased weight and body mass index percentiles.
Lisa Pawloski, co-designer of the program and chair of the Department of Global and Community Health in the College of Health and Human Services, feels confident that childhood obesity can be overcome through education and parental involvement.
“One of the major issues underlying obesity is selecting the right foods,” Pawloski says. “By educating children about making healthy eating choices and educating parents and teachers on how to encourage those behaviors, children may have better success in sustaining a healthy weight.”