African children who received high doses of a protein immunosuppressive drug at their school may also see a slight weight loss according to a new study from Duke Health.

The study was the first to examine the impact of weight changes and weight-loss interventions on the blood of children who prioritized weight-loss interventions.

Led by Loy Harris Ph. D. the first author on the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and one of the experts on the study the research team analyzed more than 1000 children ages 5 to 12 who were seen at Duke HealthLouisiana Childrens Center for Functional and Nutritional Kinesiology School of Public Health and Health Behavior.

The Team assessed the childrens history of physical activity and food intake as well as the amount of weight changed during an average follow-up period.

Children who were following a weight-loss program for six months saw a drop in their body mass index meanwhile they lost 6. 2 pounds from the start of the trial. Participants who were twice as obese while also receiving weight-loss intervention dropped in their weight loss from a mean of 9. 4 pounds to 7. 8 pounds the smallest difference between groups the researchers report.

Cook said in a statement: This meta-analysis suggests that weight change may be a useful intervention to help reduce obesity among preschool aged children. Our strong findings suggest a fluid effect in which obese children would have weight gain if we had provided them with a weight-loss intervention. This is the first evidence demonstrating that this intervention may increase their weight gain and potentially aid weight loss.

Among the findings:

Cook added that the research team hopes their results will encourage schools to offer weight-loss programs for African-American children.

Shelby Katz Pinky a pediatric obesity counselor at Domachian Health System in New Orleans showed me how this intervention vastly reduced the weight change pattern of one 2-year-old African American boy said Harris. The preschool system was the only one in Louisiana that offered this intervention.

Preventing Weight GainDuring the study participants continued their usual diets-a lower-cholesterol conventional Western diet with additional fruits and vegetables as well as a leaner North American recommended diet-for the full 12 months.

Weight-loss efforts were offered at school and at the community health providers discretion allowing participants the freedom to tailor their diet to their individual preferences. Both groups were offered the same diet that those who participated in weight-loss programs showed in previous research.

For the next phase of the study the researchers will analyze treatment outcomes during the 6-month weight-injury phase to identify the most effective ways to achieve the weight loss goals that require changing diet.

The researchers now plan to study the effects of nutritional interventions on diet behavior and metabolic pathways among African-American children.

Mapp Ecology Lab is funded by the National Science Foundation.