New research is providing another reason to get kids up and moving
New research is providing another reason to get kids up and moving. A recent Australian study found that regular exercise can reverse the early stages of heart disease in obese children.
Wait a minute! Children with precursors to heart disease? Yes. It's unfortunate, but true. Due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles and easy access to processed foods high in fat and sugar, we now have an epidemic on our hands. In fact, even some preschoolers are showing signs of heart disease.
The encouraging news is that there are ways to stop the spread of obesity in kids. The Australian study took a look at 35 obese children between the ages of six and 16. Each student was tested for the beginnings of clogged arteries and many were found to have the early signs of heart disease. A regular activity program of weight training for teens and active play outside for younger children were then put in place. After only eight weeks of regular, exercise blood vessel function was found to improve significantly. Upon cessation of exercise, and testing two months following, all improvements gained during the eight-week exercise program had reverted back.
This indicates that exercise plays an important role in preventing and reversing heart disease in children, but kids have to be encouraged to make a long-term commitment to an active lifestyle in order to reap the full benefits.