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Sustained Exercise Important for Children

By Daniel H. Rasolt

Posted: Thursday, March 19, 2009

(Defeat Diabetes® News) -- Childhood obesity is a rising global concern, and insufficient activity levels are a primary reason. It's unknown, however, what is the optimal form of exercise for children, in order to help prevent obesity. A recent study has found that "sustained" exercise, defined as constant activity in excess of five minutes, is more beneficial than "sporadic" exercise.
Nearly 2,500 children, between 7-18 years of age, were analyzed in the study. Physical activities of these children were separated into three groups; sporadic (one to four minutes), "short" (five to nine minutes), and "medium-to-long" (10 minutes or more). Observed sustained "moderate-to-vigorous" physical activity was what separated these children, and body mass indices (BMI's) were taken to characterize which children were obese.
While the majority of exercise by children was observed to take place in sporadic sessions, those participating in short and medium-to-long exercises, demonstrated a significantly lower incidence of obesity. Of course, those children with the lowest activity levels had the highest incidence of obesity, but the most significant finding was that 25% of short to long exercising children were obese, compared to 35% of sporadic exercisers. This suggests that sustained physical activity, as opposed to solely things along the lines of team sports (a lot of starting and stopping activity, making it "sporadic"), are important in helping keep children healthy.

Dr. Ian Janssen summarizes his findings, saying "when children engage in longer periods of sustained physical activity, there is a smaller likelihood that they will be overweight or obese." It's well known that obese children are more likely to be obese adults, which increases the risk of developing potentially fatal conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Janssen, Ian. Queen's University news release. March 2009.

Daniel H. Rasolt writes for Defeat Diabetes® News. Read more of his original content articles.

Copyright © 2009 Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.

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