The Power of Positive Messages

April 1, 2009

Let's face it. Reading may engage the mind in ways that television doesn't, but it's still a sedentary activity. It can't help you lose weight. Or can it? Maybe that depends on what you read. In a study at Duke Children's Hospital, researchers led by Alexandra C. Russell '05, a fourth-year medical student, asked obese females ages nine to thirteen to read a young-adult novel, Lake Rescue. The book was written by Annie Bryant, who worked closely with eating-disorder and obesity experts to craft a narrative that includes healthy lifestyle and weight-management guidance, as well as positive messages and strong role models. Six months later, the thirty-one girls who read the book had, on average, experienced a significant decrease in body mass index; the control group's had risen slightly.

Alexandra C. Russell '05, a fourth-year medical student

John Ripley