Click to listen to the audio…
Transcript of “Why moving more initiatives will not stop childhood obesity”
Ask most experts the reason for childhood obesity and you’ll get some version of, the kids of today, are
EATING TOO MUCH and MOVING TOO LITTLE.
On the surface, this conclusion is perfectly logical……… for a system to be “in balance”, the
ENERGY IN must equal ENERGY OUT
If more energy is going in, than out, the system is OUT OF balance.
The excess energy has to go somewhere – in kids sitting on the couch, playing video games, it is turned to fat. This accumulation of energy stores is what is behind obesity. So if we can just get kids off the couch, the scourge of childhood obesity, which is robbing kids of their health and wellness, will be solved.
The moving more movement
Initiatives to get kids moving more, abound.
So, are they working ?
Researchers from Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, know why. The health gurus are muddling up cause and consequence.
Inactivity doesn’t lead to fatness. Fatness leads to inactivity.
This is what the team of researchers discovered when the tracked the activity levels of a cohort children, over a period of several years.
Investigating causes and consequences
It all started the year, the kids started school. 307 healthy five year olds, from different neighbourhoods, representing different socio-economic groups within the city of Plymouth, were signed up to be part of the Earlybird study.
When the little ones turned 7, measuring began.
The team recorded the child’s weight and percentage body fat, before strapping them up to an accelerometer for a week. The accelerometer kept tabs on how much moving happened on 5 weekdays and one weekend, in year 1.
Then it happened again, a year later. Weight, percentage body fat and one week’s movement were recorded. Then it happened again………. in total, data was collected for 4 years, by this time the kids were 10 years old.
And, some of them had been lost to follow up.
In the end, the team had complete sets of data for 207 of the children.
So what happened ?
Fat kids are inactive….
Activity levels tracked percentage body fat.
It was clear, the fatter kids, were moving a lot less than the skinnier kids.
But going back in time, there was no evidence to suggest, that the fatter kids, moved any more or less, than the skinnier kids, to begin with.
Physical activity, always correlated with the current level of obesity.
More of you is harder to move
It makes sense, the bigger you are, the harder it is to move.
Kids sporting a couple of extra kilos, require a lot more energy and willpower, to get from point A to point B. Since the human body is wired to conserve energy……….. a throwback from a time, when dinner wasn’t guaranteed – it makes sense that tubby kids, prefer to minimize movement.
But, minimizing movement in the present moment, doesn’t mean, a lack of movement caused the problem.
Inactivity is a consequence not a cause
How fat a kid got, had nothing to do with how much they were moving or not moving.
When the team crunched the numbers, physical activity was unrelated to % body fat.
Being more active won’t melt away the pounds
If lack of physical activity never caused the problem, then prescribing extra physical activity is probably not going to fix the problem. To be honest, a quick glance through the scientific literature suggests kids can’t run their way to thinness. Neither can adults for that matter.
Of course, moving more, has benefits beyond weight control
It gives you…
- Better bones
- Better moods
- Better gene expression
- Better sugar levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Better thinking
- More muscles
So encouraging children to MOVE MORE is a good thing.
But, the MOVING MORE MOVEMENT, is not going to stop childhood obesity, because…
Fat kids are not inherently couch potatoes
They become couch potatoes because of obesity.
So why are they fat ?
Is it because they’re EATING TOO MUCH ? Is the solution, to cut the ENERGY going IN ? Maybe, I suspect it’s not quite that simple. Childhood obesity begins with BAD BODY CHEMISTRY, NOT too many calories.
CANDY FLOSSing will help fix the BAD BODY CHEMISTY that drives fat accumulation, but to really STOP childhood obesity, we need to address the things that cause little one’s too be more likely to develop BAD BODY CHEMISTRY. Missing friends, broken clocks and chemical overwhelm…..when we “fix” these, we’ll “fix” childhood obesity.
There is a BIG difference between watching sport on TV and actually lacing up your takkies to DO sport. If you can’t tell the difference, your kid can !
It’s got nothing to do with dietary habits, meal time routines, frequency of family meals, time spent watching TV or physical activity, the problem is….
What if childhood obesity has nothing to do with food ? What if it begins in the doctor’s rooms ? Specifically with antibiotic prescriptions in the under twos
Want to fix the body chemistry behind obesity ?
NOTE : Privacy & spam policy. Spoonful of Science will not rent, trade or sell the e-mail list to anyone. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the unsubscribe link.