Spa students study childhood obesity

By Rob George 10/02 Updated: 10/02 09:37

SIXTH-form students at Droitwich Spa High School are set to gather and analyse data as part of a major study into childhood obesity.

The study is being funded by children’s charity Action Medical Research and will examine links between obesity in teenagers and sleep deprivation, academic performance and the use of electronic gadgets such as games consoles.

Following training, the sixth formers will be supervising the study which will involve 800 11-12 year olds from their own school for one year.

And as the study runs for three years, a new intake of sixth formers will be trained each year to ensure the research can be completed

The younger children will complete a seven-day sleep diary and questionnaires about their sleeping patterns and their use of technology, once a year, for the three years.

They will also wear watch-like devices on their wrists for one-week periods which monitor sleep patterns by detecting movement.

The children’s height and weight will also be measured and information on their academic performance will be collected.

Project leader, Dr Taheri, from the Diabetes Centre at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, said: “I run the UK’s largest obesity clinic at the hospital so it’s really important to me to be able to contribute to trying to prevent this condition in children.

“My clinic mainly sees adult patients but we are getting more and more children coming in with diabetes, obstructed breathing and wanting surgery at just 15 or 16-years-old.

“The sixth form students benefit from this as they gain key scientific and analytical skills which they can use in their studies.

“Also, they can put on their CVs that they have taken part in a national research programme which might help them secure a place at university in the future,” he added.

Droitwich Spa High School is one of 11 Midlands schools taking part in the project which will begin during the Spring.

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