Maybe the numbers on the scale aren't alarming, but that doesn't mean that healthy-weight children get a pass on exercising, according to a new University of Illinois study published in Pediatrics.
"The FITKids study demonstrates the extent to which physical activity can improve body composition, and that's important because it matters to your health where fat is stored. But the study is also interesting for what happened in the control group to the kids who didn't exercise," said Naiman Khan, a postdoctoral researcher in the U of I's Division of Nutritional Sciences.
At the end of the nine-month program, the contrast between the exercisers and non-exercisers was noticeable, he said. "FITKids had improved cardiovascular fitness, less overall body fat, and carried less fat around their abdomens, a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. The opposite was true for the control group who maintained their regular after-school routine."
FITKids was developed by Charles Hillman, a U of I professor of kinesiology who studies the effects of physical activity on the brain and cognition. The body composition results were secondary to the study's primary aim, which was to assess cognitive function as it changes in kids who are physically active compared to those in the control group.
"These results are interesting because it wasn't a weight-loss study. More than half the kids who participated were at a healthy weight, and that allowed us to observe how exercise or lack of exercise affected body composition in normal-weight and overweight children," Khan said.
In the study, 220 eight- to nine-year-olds were assigned to either a nine-month physical activity intervention or a control group. The intervention provided 70 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity five days a week. Baseline and follow-up cardiorespiratory fitness, percent fat mass, percent central fat mass, and estimated abdominal fat tissue were measured.
Although the control group displayed no change in cardiorespiratory fitness, kids in that group increased in percent fat mass and abdominal fat tissue, he said.
"So the weight of healthy-weight children who don't exercise doesn't just remain stable. Normal-weight kids who don't exercise do gain an excess amount of weight for their age, and if they become overweight, the tendency is to store excess fat in their abdomens. They're going in the wrong direction," Khan noted.
Parents of healthy-weight children would do well to promote exercise so their kids can avoid the onset of obesity, the researcher advised.
"Your child should engage in moderate to vigorous exercise for about an hour a day. Adults should make sure kids have a space to play and play games in and opportunities to be physically during or after school. If kids are at a healthy weight for their age, we want to make sure they stay that way," Khan said.
Naiman Khan, Lauren B. Raine, Eric S. Drollette, Mark R. Scudder, Sharon M. Donovan, and Charles H. Hillman, all of the University of Illinois; Matthew B. Pontifex of Michigan State University; Darla M. Castelli of the University of Texas at Austin; and Ellen M. Evans of the University of Georgia were co-authors of the study.
"Impact of the FITKids Physical Activity Intervention on Adiposity in Prepubertal Children" appears in Pediatrics, vol. 133, no. 4, and is available pre-publication online at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/133/4/e875.full?sid=32787956-c7d2-4258-ab0a-91062ded706e . The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Phyllis Picklesimer | University of Illinois
Deadly Japan quake and tsunami spurred global warming, ozone loss
26.03.2015 | American Geophysical Union
When clocks are set forward, life satisfaction declines
26.03.2015 | Sozio-oekonomisches Panel (SOEP)
In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...
The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.
As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...
When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.
The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe.
Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...
Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.
From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...
25.03.2015 | Event News
19.03.2015 | Event News
17.03.2015 | Event News
27.03.2015 | Trade Fair News
27.03.2015 | Physics and Astronomy
27.03.2015 | Life Sciences