Nov. 4, 2013,
By Genevra Pittman
Whether children can and should participate in strength training has been a contentious issue. But new research suggests it is safe and may encourage young people to be more active in their everyday lives.
Researchers randomly assigned one group of children aged 10 to 14 to strength train twice a week and others to go to their typical gym classes.
After a few months, kids who did squats, crunches and bench presses were stronger than their classmates. And boys who did strength training had upped their weekly exercise by 10 percent.
“The initial idea was that training increases children’s motivation to be physically active,” said Dr. Udo Meinhardt. He led the study at the PEZZ Center for Pediatric Endocrinology in Zurich, Switzerland. Continue reading
Oct. 24, 2013,
The Baltimore Sun
By Allison Bond
Providing children with sports equipment, encouragement, and a safe environment boosts their activity level during the school day, according to a recent study from Australia.
Researchers found that simple steps such as making sure elementary school students have bats and balls to use during recess or asking students to stand up between classes boosted physical activity during recess by as much as 40 percent.
“We all know that physical activity is important, especially with the growing obesity epidemic,” Dr. Vandana Madhavan, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital who was not involved in the research, told Reuters Health. “This study looks at multiple ways to increase activity in the school setting.” Continue reading
Oct. 22, 2013,
Intensive exercise improves the academic performance of teenagers, according to new research.
The study of about 5,000 children found links between exercise and exam success in English, math, and science.
It found an increase in performance for every extra 17 minutes boys exercised, and 12 minutes for girls.
The study by the universities of Strathclyde and Dundee in Scotland found physical activity particularly benefited girls’ performance at science.
The authors said this could be a chance finding or reflect gender differences in the impact of physical activity on the brain.
Children who carried out regular exercise, not only did better academically at age 11 but also at age 13 and in their exams at age 16, the study suggested. Continue reading
Oct. 13, 2013,
It’s important for all children to get a regular amount of physical activity each day. Sometimes, the amount they get is affected by factors at preschool.
A recent study identified nine factors that affected how much physical activity preschoolers got.
Boys were more active than girls, and rainy days decreased their activity levels.
The placement of the preschool on the playground and the time children spent at preschool in the afternoon also influenced their physical activity levels. Continue reading
Oct. 11, 2013,
In the United States, children don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Instead, their diets typically include excessive amounts of sugars and solid fats, counter to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations, increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes.
A team of investigators implemented a two-year intervention study in low-income, rural areas where a disproportionately higher risk of overweight and obesity habits among children persists, leading to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease in adulthood. The children enrolled in the study consumed significantly more fruits and vegetables. The results are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
To evaluate students’ diet quality at the beginning and after the study, researchers designed the CHANGE (Creating Healthy, Active, and Nurturing Growing-up Environments) study, a two-year randomized, controlled, community- and school-based intervention to prevent unhealthy weight gain among rural school-aged children. Continue reading
Kids spend many of their waking hours at school. This puts schools in a unique position to help promote physical activity and healthy habits among children. However, many schools are deterred by fears of increased risk of legal liability for personal injuries.
A new article in the American Journal of Public Health outlines three school-based strategies for promoting physical activity—Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs, joint use agreements, and playground enhancement— and describes how schools can substantially minimize their liability risk by engaging in an number of different approaches that include creating and maintaining safe facilities, having adequate insurance, and partnering with other organizations to share liability risk. In some cases schools are also protected under governmental immunity, further lowering their liability risk. Continue reading
Aug. 8, 2013,
Despite widespread cuts to physical education classes and recess, an Indiana University study has shown that schools can play an important role in helping their students live healthier lives. Schools that implemented coordinated school health programs saw increases in students’ physical activity.
“With support from teachers, administrators, and parents, our schools can become healthier places,” said Mindy Hightower King, evaluation manager at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community (IIDC) at IU Bloomington. “Despite budget cuts and increasing emphasis on academic skills, schools are choosing to focus on improving student health, which ultimately can support improved academic performance.”
The findings involved 1,100 students from eight southern Indiana elementary and middle schools. Students who attended the schools that most thoroughly implemented HEROES, a program based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s coordinated school health model, were more likely to increase their physical activity levels. HEROES is designed to enhance schoolwide wellness through changes in physical education, nutrition, health promotion efforts for school staff and family, and community involvement. Continue reading
July 30, 2013,
Medical News Today
By Nick Valentine
Current recommendations for children to exercise an hour every day are “insufficient” to protect them from heart and blood circulation problems later in life.
Children under age 10 need at least 80 minutes of physical activity a day to keep them healthy, including 20 minutes of vigorous exercise, conclude researchers publishing in the journal BMC Medicine.
This new research into the links between exercise in younger children and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adulthood is part of the European Commission-sponsored project known as IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of Dietary – and lifestyle – induced health Effects in Children and infantS). Continue reading
June 25, 2013,
Only half of American youths get the recommended amount of exercise and less than one-third eat the suggested amount of fruits and vegetables each day, according to a federal government study.
Researchers surveyed nearly 10,000 students aged 11 to 16 in 39 states, and found that only half were physically active five or more days a week and fewer than one in three ate fruits and vegetables daily.
“The students showed a surprising variability in eating patterns,” study author Ronald Iannotti, of the prevention research branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in an institute news release. “But most — about 74 percent — did not have a healthy pattern.” Continue reading
A new infographic by Active Living Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), shows the estimated amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, in minutes, that children could get from several distinct school and community policy changes. A combination of these can help kids meet the national recommendation of daily physical activity. Continue reading