Plant-Based, Family Food Packages Aid BMI Change in Children

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Medically Reviewed By :
Meeta Shah, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, June 28, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Providing plant-based family food packages could be a useful strategy to improve body mass index (BMI) among children requiring food assistance, according to a study published online June 22 in Preventing Chronic Disease.

Allison J. Wu, M.D., M.P.H., from Boston Children's Hospital, and colleagues examined the association between receipt of plant-based family food packages from the Massachusetts General Hospital Revere Food Pantry and change in BMI among 35 children (aged 2 to 18 years) between January 2021 and February 2022.

The researchers found that children aged 2 to 18 years experienced a 0.31 kg/m2 change in age- and sex-adjusted BMI over a mean 19 months of follow-up. At baseline, 57 percent of children were classified as having overweight or obesity versus 49 percent of children at follow-up. For each additional package received, there was an associated change in BMI of −0.04 kg/m2 from baseline to follow-up, independent of age, sex, and duration.

"The results of our case study suggest that providing plant-based family food packages could be a useful strategy to prevent, and potentially reverse, BMI increases among children requiring food assistance," the authors write. "Food pantry packages should be considered in conjunction with other healthy-weight interventions for children."

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