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: Smoking rates halve since 1970s in Britain

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Brain inspired data engineering

just added

What if next-generation ICT systems could be based on the brain's structure and its cognitive and adaptive processes? A groundbreaking paradigm of brain-inspired intelligent ICT architectures is being born.

E-Voting: Risky technology or great improvement?

30 minutes ago

On this forthcoming weekend the Australian state election takes place, and in Victoria State they will be using a new e-voting system to improve secrecy, reliability and user-friendliness. But how secure are such systems? ...

How can we avoid kelp beds turning into barren grounds?

53 minutes ago

Urchins are marine invertebrates that mould the biological richness of marine grounds. However, an excessive proliferation of urchins may also have severe ecological consequences on marine grounds as they ...

Recommended for you

Beijing adopts smoking ban for public places: state media

41 minutes ago

China's capital on Friday passed a smoking ban for all indoor public places and offices, state media reported, despite the failure of past attempts to limit where the country's 300 million smokers can light up.

Health care organizations see value of telemedicine

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Health care organizations are developing and implementing telemedicine programs, although many have yet to receive reimbursement, according to a report published by Foley & Lardner.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.