Kicking Up Cancer Prevention: Helping Kids Who Are Overweight Get Active

Today, there’s a world of entertainment for kids that has nothing to do with playing outside. It’s not uncommon for the overweight children I counsel to tell me they spend four or more hours a day watching TV or on a tablet, which leaves little time to be active.

youth baseball player in catcher's uniform squatting in position

Establishing healthy activity and eating patterns needs to start at a young age for us to see

a reversal in the obesity epidemic, one of the largest contributing factors to increased cancer risk. Yet only about a quarter of kids get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily, including kids who are overweight, which is about a third of children and adolescents.

For these kids, it can be more difficult to be active due to embarrassment, peer bullying and physical challenges associated with getting into an activity routine. Overweight and obese youth also tend to be less active due to poor motor skills, says Avery Faigenbaum, EdD, an expert on pediatric exercise at The College of New Jersey.

So how can we get kids who are overweight to be more active? Faigenbaum presented research at a recent weight management conference on effective ways to increase activity among overweight youth. Continue reading

Review: plenty of health reasons to get those young kids active

If being active is good for you — and you know it is — how important is it for young kids? Very, suggests a new review of the research out of the United Kingdom. The review points to how running about and playing sports as children links to numerous health benefits, many of which relate to lowering cancer risk decades later as adults.

For the review, researchers at the British Heart Foundation for Public Health England, part of the UK’s Department of Health, looked at how activity improves 5- to 11-year-olds mental, physical and long-term behaviors.

After finding then rating the studies, the review found strong evidence that activity helps kids’ cardiometabolic health, which puts them at lower risk to develop type 2 diabetes, obesity and other issues related to poor metabolic health. These studies generally focused on how physical activity linked to risk factors for chronic diseases, such as insulin levels and markers of inflammation. Many of these risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes are also shared factors for increased cancer risk.

Here’s the PDF of the evidence review, and below is the summary of what they found.

Rapid evidence review on the effect of physical activity participation among children aged 5 –11 years. Public Health England

Rapid evidence review on the effect of physical activity participation among children aged 5–11 years. Public Health England

Evidence relating to how physical activity improves body fatness/composition was not as Continue reading

Kids, Pizza and Cancer Prevention

Pizza is popular – for kids’ parties, family night out and even late night snacks. But pizza can pack a lot of calories and that can lead to weight gain, which can increase cancer risk. Child Preparing Pizza

A study published yesterday in the journal Pediatrics dissects the role pizza plays in weight and nutrition for children and adolescents. Although the researchers found that overall, daily calories from pizza are lower than a decade ago, children and adolescents who eat pizza also consume more calories, saturated fat and salt each day than non-pizza eaters.

Study authors also found that if the pizza was from a fast food restaurant or was eaten as a snack, it added even more calories than if the pizza was from school cafeterias or from home. Overall, teens averaged about 320 calories more per day when eating pizza from a fast food restaurant than days when they didn’t eat pizza at all.

Being overweight as a kid may lead to being overweight as an adult. Overweight and obese adults have an increased risk for many common cancers, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

How can you help your child learn to enjoy pizza as a meal, treat or even as a healthful contribution to their diet? Check out our blog where I give a few tips on how to order and make a healthier pizza.