Fitness. Fatloss. Results.

Overweight children have hardened arteries

Below is a discussion on a recent study which found that overweight, seduntary children have markers of early heart disease.  Surprise, surprise to think that small humans have the same consequences from an unhealthy lifestyle as large humans!!  (excuse the sarcasm)

Anyway, the study showed that children who are overweight and do not get enough exercise have stiffer arteries (hardened arteries to use a more common phrase) and also have signs of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  These conditions may not have symptoms at their early stages, but both can result in PERMANENT damage to the childrens’ bodies and systems that cannot be reversed even with improved lifestyles.

The amount of exercise they are talking is also minimal.  So just because your child plays a sport or two every week, they are not protected.  20-40 minutes per day (every day) showed improvement for the kids in the study.  Is you child exercising for 40 minutes every day.  Or are you using the excuse that they must be okay, they can get through a game of ____________(insert sport played here)

I am appalled at the number of children just in Maryborough that cannot manage to get through 20 minutes of basketball without taking breaks, or who cannot run once around an oval without feeling like they are having a heart attack and having to stop!  The same goes on the soccer field, in the swimming pool (even among those with good technique) or just in the playground.

Have a good look at your children.  Can you see or almost see their ribs?  Can you see and feel their hip bones easily?  Really healthy children are actually quite skinny.

Although I’m not advocating starving your child or putting them through vigorous Bootcamp style workouts, you have to teach them about healthy food choices and get them moving!  It’s not about teaching them to have eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.  Eating crap all the time is an eating disorder too, but we seem to have forgotten that.

It’s about teaching them what to eat and when.  If it’s just too hard-you don’t want to put up with the wingeing and whining.  Or you feel guilty because you don’t spend enough time with them-GET OVER IT!!  Have healthy food choices available all the time and don’t give in.  Your children deserve better than that.  If you want to give them the best start in avoiding obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more, make changes now.

Don’t wait till it’s too late.  Remember the effects of bad diet apply to both adults and children.

ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2010) — Children with more body fat and less endurance than their fitter, leaner counterparts have stiffer arteries at a young age, Medical College of Georgia researchers said.

Stiff arteries are a hallmark of atherosclerosis, a typically adult condition in which blood vessels become clogged.

When children at such a young age start getting diseases only adults used to get, it’s like the sky is falling,” said Dr. Catherine L. Davis, clinical health psychologist in MCG’s Georgia Prevention Institute and principal investigator on the study. The findings were presented during the 31st Annual Society of Behavioral Medicine Meeting.

Using a non-invasive measure of pulse wave velocity, Davis discovered that children with a greater body mass index, more body fat and less endurance had stiffer central arteries compared to leaner and fitter children. Identifying these children early could hasten preventive measures, she noted.

Her most recent National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute-funded study involves overweight or obese 8-11-year-old children, half of whom participate in aerobic exercises such as jumping rope and shooting hoops weekdays after school while the other half participate in sedentary activities, including board games and crafts.

Among a similar cohort of children, Davis also found that regular exercise decreases metabolic risks linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The new study will examine the effects of exercise on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and atherosclerosis.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which affects about 40 percent of obese children, initially is often symptomless. But its long-term risk of inflammation and scarring, which can cause liver damage and failure, also is related to hardening of the arteries.

“It’s essentially another aspect of the metabolic imbalance these children are experiencing when they’re overweight and inactive and is a signal they’re at very high risk for diabetes,” Davis said.

She already found that exercise reduces inflammation, visceral fat (a type of fat situated between the organs), body mass index and insulin levels. Children who exercised showed improvement on virtually all of those measures after just 20 to 40 minutes of daily aerobic exercise for 12 weeks. She presented the findings at the American Heart Association’s Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Conference in March.


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