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Sustained Exercise Seen Best for Kids' Weight

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

Longer bouts of exercise may be better for maintaining a healthyweight in children than is sporadic activity accumulated throughout the day, a new study suggests.

The study involved 2500 children aged 8 to 17 years old. The results, which were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that the more moderate-to-vigorousexercise they got, the less likely they were to be overweight. However, the manner in which they got that exercise also mattered.

The more sustained bouts of 5 to 10 minutes of activity that the kids got each day, the lower were their odds of being overweight.

Currently, U.S. guidelines recommend that children get 60 minutes of moderate-to- vigorous exercise each day. They do not specify how those minutes should be accumulated, however.

The study results suggest that for weight control, children should strive for more prolonged bouts of activity, according to Dr. Ian Janssen, of Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.

In some cases, he told Reuters Health, organized sports or other activities are the best way to achieve that.

However, Janssen pointed out, not all sports are created equal. He noted that baseball, for instance, typically involves a lot of standing around. Soccer, on the other hand, requires kids to run from one end of the field to the other for sustained periods.

It’s not clear why bouts of activity seem beneficial independent of the total time kids spend exercising, according to Janssen. He speculated that more-prolonged exercise might have more pronounced hormonal effects compared with sporadic activity accumulated over the day.

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