Friday, September 21, 2018

Childhood Obesity and Physical Activity

Obesity continues to be a serious problem worldwide including the U.S.  Approximately one third of the U.S. adult population is obese. Researchers in the U.S. and in other places in the world are attempting to develop methods to fight the disease. Because obesity is associated with a number of serious illnesses, curbing the disease is an important endeavor.  And establishing effective, early-life, childhood obesity treatments for the disease is imperative, since obesity-related illnesses can start before a person is five years of age. One early-life treatment is physical activity.

Experts agree that obesity during childhood exposes a child to a higher risk for high cholesterol, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. And one "study has found that obesity can...put children at risk for...attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, allergies and ear infections. So curbing childhood obesity is important for the future."

Fortunately, there has been some success in the development of new knowledge concerning the fight against childhood obesity. One example of the new knowledge is a finding concerning physical activity. The investigators in one study concluded that acute exercise can "reduce food intake in obese youth when intense, without altering the macronutrients composition of the meal." 

And another study indicates that "Time spent on VPA [vigorous-intensity physical activity] was associated with higher [fat-free mass index] and better physical fitness." And that "the results suggest that promoting VPA may be important to improve childhood body composition and physical fitness ... at an early age." 

If healthcare providers take an active role in the childhood obesity fight by applying new methods based on information such as that mentioned above, we may put a dent in childhood obesity. Incorporating new methods could reduce the risk that children will face obesity-related illnesses in adulthood. Therefore, it is incumbent on providers to utilize as many effective methods as possible to curb childhood obesity. Indeed, all healthcare providers, and other healthcare stakeholders, should work to curb childhood obesity.


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