Researchers report that children who spent more time in sports activities and had higher aerobic fitness reported fewer "sick" days; children with more than 25% body fat had significantly more
How best to keep school aged children from getting sick? Some invoke the most famous parental warning of all: “Don’t go outside with your hair wet or you’ll catch pneumonia.” Now, a new study offers additional strategies for combating the number of cold and flu symptom days among youngsters.
A report by Canadian researchers demonstrates that children who spent more time in sports activities and had higher aerobic fitness reported fewer "sick" days, and those with body fat higher than 25% reported significantly more such events. Their study also found evidence connecting reduced physical activity and excess body fat with higher incidences of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI).
This study demonstrates the importance of physical activity for children’s resistance to infection. Children who spent more time in sport activities and had higher aerobic fitness reported fewer sick days, whereas children with relative body fat exceeding 25% reported significantly more sick days than the rest of the cohort. With this in mind, the new parental warnings should, perhaps, be modified to: “Don’t go outside with your hair wet -- but do go out!.”
Source: December 2003 edition of the American Journal of Physiology. The Journal is one of 14 scientific journals published each month by the American Physiological Society (APS).
Donna Krupa | APS
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