Study offers hope for combatting childhood obesity

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childhood-obesity(NaturalHealth365)  It’s not an exaggeration to say that food today is more addictive than ever.  Over the years, the variety and addictiveness of food products have soared.  Food scientists dedicate themselves year-round to perfecting these delectable creations, ensuring they’re as irresistible as can be on the shelves of your local stores.

Compounding the issue is the government’s permission for food manufacturers to directly advertise to children, which only exacerbates the challenge of combating obesity.  However, there’s some hope offered in a recent study highlighting the vital role movement plays in promoting a healthy adolescence.

Physical activity is a metaphorical launching pad for lifelong health

The aforementioned study assessed the effects of physical activity and sedentary behavior on 6,059 children, utilizing accelerometers – a scientific instrument measuring movement rate through acceleration.  Acceleration signifies the rate of change in velocity.  Researchers tracked these children starting at age 11, conducting follow-up assessments until they reached 24 years old.  The longitudinal study was confined to children residing in the United Kingdom.

Findings revealed that each additional minute of sedentary time per day correlated with a 1.3-gram increase in fat mass among participants.  Given that one pound equals 453 grams and there are 1,440 minutes in a day, an adolescent spending an extra 250 minutes daily in sedentary activities would gain approximately 325 grams of weight, roughly equivalent to three-quarters of a pound.

Furthermore, the study examined the influence of light physical activity on childhood health, indicating that each additional minute of such activity resulted in a 3.6-gram reduction in fat mass.  Additionally, every minute of moderate to vigorous activity led to a 2.8-gram decrease in fat mass.  Even the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum of one hour per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity from childhood through young adulthood.

Interestingly, the study revealed that girls tended to have higher overall and trunk fat mass than boys, while boys typically exhibited greater lean mass than girls.

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Creative ways to get your child moving

If you’re a parent, reminiscing about your own childhood likely brings waves of nostalgia, especially considering how much more social and physically active kids were back then compared to today’s youth.  While it may not be possible to fully replicate the joy of your own childhood for your children, there are steps you can take to encourage similar experiences, albeit to some extent.

For instance, consider placing a timer by every screen in your home, prompting your child to limit their screen time to 45 minutes or less per session.  Lead by example by also curbing your own screen time.  Engaging in new sports or activities alongside your child, whether it’s pickleball, tennis or golf, can be a fun way to increase physical activity for both of you.

If your child tends to be shy or less inclined to be active, introducing them to peers in the neighborhood or nearby streets can help.  Building relationships with other parents in the neighborhood can also enhance opportunities for collaborative play sessions.

Investing in your child’s health by covering youth sports entry fees and purchasing sports equipment is another worthwhile step.  Encourage your child to join local sports leagues, where they can foster potentially lifelong friendships with others who share an interest in cultivating healthy habits.

Naturally, if you can combine these suggestions with a healthier (organic) diet, the entire family will benefit from making better lifestyle decisions.

Have you found effective ways to motivate your child to become more active?  Feel free to share your tips below.

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