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

Talk to Your Teens About Cancer Prevention

Parents are teens’ top source of health information, according to a new study from Northwestern University. This is important for helping your teens learn about a topic they are probably not thinking a lot about: cancer prevention.

The “Teens, Health & Technology” survey included a nationally representative group of American teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18. Fifty-five percent of teens reported that they got “a lot” of their health information from parents, followed by health classes at school, medical providers, and the Internet (see below). This means that, for the majority of teens, the conversation about cancer prevention has to begin at home.


*13-18 year olds who say they get “a lot” – Source: Teens, Health and Technology survey, June 2015.

The habits your teens are forming now will likely follow them into adulthood, so now is the time to start building positive health-promoting habits.

Here are 4 things parents can do to teach teens about cancer prevention: Continue reading