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: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Wired SKorea to stem digital addiction from age 3

Nov 28, 2012

(AP)—Park Jung-in, an 11-year-old South Korean, sleeps with her Android smartphone instead of a teddy bear. When the screen beams with a morning alarm, she wakes up, picks up her glasses and scrolls through ...

Piano plague in D minor

Sep 05, 2012

Why would 19th-century doctors want to ban piano lessons for girls? Did they truly believe that learning to play music could cause sexual and neurotic disorders? Or were there sociological reasons for picking ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

4 hours ago

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

11 hours ago

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...