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Oct. 22 2008 12:00 AM

It's no secret that reading is beneficial. But can it help kids lose weight? In the first study to look at the impact of literature on obese adolescents, researchers at Duke Children's Hospital discovered that reading the right type of novel may make a difference.

The Duke researchers asked obese females ages 9 to 13 who were already in a comprehensive weight loss program to read an age-appropriate novel called Lake Rescue (Beacon Street Press). It was carefully crafted with the help of pediatric experts to include specific healthy lifestyle and weight management guidance, as well as positive messages and strong role models.

Six months later, the Duke researchers found the 31 girls who read Lake Rescue experienced a significant decrease in their BMI scores (-71%) when compared to a control group of 14 girls who hadn't (+.05%), explained Alexandra C. Russell, MD, a fourth-year medical student at Duke who led the study and presented the findings at the Obesity Society's annual scientific meeting.


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