News & Notes
Effectiveness of a population-scaled, school-based physical activity intervention for the prevention of childhood obesity
The study linked above reviews a large scale study done in Slovenia where 48% of their primary schools and over 34,000 students participated. The purpose of this research was to see the effect of adding an additional 2-3 days of physical activity on the body composition of the students involved in the study. As one might assume, more physical activity led to huge improvements in reducing BMI scores. The greatest improvements were in those children with the highest scores and the results began to really become apparent at the three year mark.
What this tells me is that consistent physical activity, done over years, can help fight the childhood obesity rise we have been seeing in recent decades. In volume alone, the schools have the power to impact the most children and as the study indicates, can make a huge difference in the lives of those kids they work with.
What I've Been Thinking About
In previous research studying the decline in youth sports, one problem presented was the cost of participating in athletics (Nearly 60% of families say youth sports are a ‘financial strain’). As the article estimates, sports can cost anywhere between $100-$500 for a season and if you have multiple kids interested in playing, this expense can become quite costly. For a lot of families, this is just too much and they miss out on the opportunity to gain the benefits of sport and physical activity. When there is no physical activity, negative health effects will occur.
So, if the kids aren't playing sports and they are not getting gym class in school, when and where are they getting their physical activity? The global prevalence of obesity has increased at a significant rate in children, growing from about 5% in the 70's to almost 20% today. Along with having an unhealthy weight comes problems like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and some types of cancer. The likelihood of obese/overweight kids staying that way for their entire life is high. Around 55% of obese children go on to be obese in adolescence, around 80% of obese adolescents will still be obese in adulthood and around 70% will be obese over age 30. If we want to make change, a good place to start is getting physical activity back into the schools!
Fitness Tip of the Week
I listened to a women in her sixties discuss how grateful she was for her aunt who taught her yoga when she was in her teens. Throughout her life she always used yoga as a way to check in to see if she was centered or not. When she felt out of whack emotionally, physically, or in some cases intoxicated, she would always go back to a few yoga poses to check in. When she failed to perform the move at top form, she knew that she may have went a little too far in one direction or another.
I came to a similar realization recently when I participated in one of our yoga classes in the barn. After a few poses I realized I have been neglecting certain areas in my training. I was tight, out of balance and just out of whack. So what did I do with that feedback? I ignored it of course and a few short weeks later, wound up with some serious back discomfort!
So here is my advice: Check in with your body, see if there are any potential gaps, and then address (not ignore) those gaps!
Quote of the Week
"No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nurture and education" -- Crito, lifelong friend and companion of Socrates
I hope you all have an awesome week!
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