Recommendations for children's exercise lacking say experts

Oct 10, 2008

Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, UK, have carried out research that suggests the one hour of moderate exercise a day recommended to children from health experts may not be enough to tackle the rising problem of childhood obesity.

Their research has been published in the most recent issue of the journal "Archives of Diseases in Childhood."

The results come from the EarlyBird study, which has followed the development of over 200 children in Plymouth born in 1995 and 1996.

Researchers found that when these children were aged between five and eight, 42 per cent of boys and only 11 per cent of girls met the government recommended daily exercise level of one hour of moderate exercise.

The study also found that exercise alone had no positive effect on weight control over time, although the research team were keen to stress that this does not mean that exercise has no health benefits for children.

Indeed, when compared with peers who took less exercise, children who met the recommended activity levels fared better for blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin resistance, which is a recognised precursor to type 2 diabetes later in life.

However the researchers did believe that improving children's diets, which they claim to have "changed markedly" over the last two decades, would be likely to have a greater impact on their overall health and weight.

Dr. Brad Metcalf, researcher in the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Peninsula Medical School, commented: " We are keen to stress that children should be encouraged to be active, because our study showed that regular exercise improved metabolic health even without improving BMI."

The research team worked with 212 children from 54 schools in Plymouth and followed them for four years. Once a year the children were tested by wearing small monitors that recorded their exercise levels.

The amount of physical activity achieved by children each day varied considerably – some only managed 10 minutes of moderate exercise, while others went over 90 minutes.

Said Dr. Metcalf: "The results for girls are in line with past research that shows that young girls do not exercise as much as boys. To some degree any child's activity level can be affected by biology – some children are more naturally active than others and this might explain why there is such a marked difference between boys and girls. At present it is unclear whether exercise guidelines should be adjusted for this difference, or whether girls should be encouraged to exercise more."

Source: The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

Explore further: CDC charges Johns Hopkins to lead development of Ebola training module

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

MasterCard, Zwipe announce fingerprint-sensor card

12 hours ago

On Friday, MasterCard and Oslo, Norway-based Zwipe announced the launch of a contactless payment card featuring an integrated fingerprint sensor. Say goodbye to PINs. This card, they said, is the world's ...

Plastic nanoparticles also harm freshwater organisms

14 hours ago

Organisms can be negatively affected by plastic nanoparticles, not just in the seas and oceans but in freshwater bodies too. These particles slow the growth of algae, cause deformities in water fleas and impede communication ...

Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms

14 hours ago

Throw a rock through a window made of silica glass, and the brittle, insulating oxide pane shatters. But whack a golf ball with a club made of metallic glass—a resilient conductor that looks like metal—and the glass not ...

US company sells out of Ebola toys

22 hours ago

They might look tasteless, but satisfied customers dub them cute and adorable. Ebola-themed toys have proved such a hit that one US-based company has sold out.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments : 0