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Amsterdam's Obesity Rate Among Children Declining, Parents Unhappy With Program Initially

Update Date: Apr 17, 2017 10:14 PM EDT
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Children's Hospital Class Aims To Help Youth With Obesity Issues
AURORA, CO - NOVEMBER 13: A child sits on the gym floor during the Shapedown program for overweight adolescents and children on November 13, 2010 in Aurora, Colorado. The 10-week family-centered program held by the Denver area Children's Hospital teaches youth and their parents ways to lead a healthier more active lifestyle, as a longer lasting weight-loss alternative to dieting. Nationally, some 15 percent of children are overweight or obese, as are some 60 percent of adults.
(Photo : John Moore/Getty Images)

The Netherland capital has been seeing success in its anti-obesity campaign as it targeted children in the unhealthy weight range. The program that aims to minimize Amsterdam's obesity rate delivered a 12 percent reduction in the number of overweight and obese children in the city.

Thanks to the city's mayor and public officials who put on a united front battling the weight problem in Amsterdam, changes have been observed in communities. Whereas parents would let their children have fruit juice, the program has banned such practice due to the sugar content of fruit juice.

A US study on fruit juice consumption among children aged 1 to 3 years old showed a slight increase in weight although it was not observed among children 7 to 18 years old; that is, if they drank only a serving of 100 percent fruit juice a day equivalent to 4 to 6 ounces. Health experts promote drinking water or low-fat unsweetened milk for young children as drinking juice over the years could lead to more weight gain.

To tackle Amsterdam's obesity rate, fruit juice was no longer allowed in schools. Parents were urged to get their children into the habit of riding bikes, an activity the city is also famous for. People belonging to low-income groups could avail of subsidized membership in sports centers as well.

In some communities including migrant ones, cooking classes were held where traditional recipes were tweaked for healthier versions. Sponsorship for major sports events in the city excluded fast food restaurants and soda companies. On the preventive side, counseling pregnant moms for their baby's first 1,000 days of life was also given.

The program was initially met with resistance, especially by parents of the students. They would insist on giving their children fruit juice. They would also bring pastries and fruit juice at birthday parties held in the classroom but school officials refused.

After a while, drinking water has become the norm among the students, the Guardian reported.

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