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.
Establishing healthy activity and eating patterns needs to start at a young age for us to see
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.
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.
Girls who are overweight as young children and teens may face increased risk for colorectal cancer decades later, regardless of what they weigh as adults, suggests a new study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. The study is partially funded by AICR.
In an unexpected finding, the same link for overweight boys and adult colorectal cancer was not found.
While the link between overweight adult and higher risk of developing colorectal cancer is clear — for both women and men — the role of excess body fat as a child is an emerging area of research.
For the study, researchers pulled data from almost 110,000 people who were part of two large and long-term population studies. One included only women, the Nurses’ Health Study, and the other men, the Health Professionals Follow-up study.