‘Guidelines on kids’ physical activity needs rethink’

June 30th, 2008 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 30 (IANS) Experts have recommended revising guidelines on how much physical activity children require to be in peak health according to their gender. Both British and US guidelines recommend that children should be moderately physically active for at least an hour daily in a bid to stave off obesity and its attendant health risks.

The results showed that some children spend as little as 10 minutes daily at the recommended intensity while others were spending over 90 minutes.

Around 42 percent boys and only 11 percent of girls met the 60-minute guideline.

But both boys and girls who met the guidelines showed progressive improvement, while those who did not showed a progressive deterioration.

The authors suggest that the measure used to gauge the impact may simply be too crude, and that applying the same guidelines to both sexes may not be appropriate.

Children who do more exercise clearly benefit, but we still have no idea how to encourage the 60 percent of boys and 90 percent of girls who do not meet the deadline to do more, said researchers.

The researchers based their findings on the long term monitoring of 113 boys and 99 girls from 54 different schools, all of whom were five-years-old at the beginning of the study.

The children were part of the EarlyBird study, tracking the long term health of 307 children born between 1995 and 1996. The children’s weekly physical activity levels were measured using a tiny device worn around the waist and designed for the purpose.

And changes in weight and predictive health indicators, such as insulin resistance, blood fat and cholesterol levels, and blood pressure were measured annually between the ages of five and eight.

These findings were published online ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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