If you’re a reader of health news, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about the research looking at how office walking breaks can help your health. Now comes a small study suggesting that those breaks may also improve kids’ long-term metabolic health, which may lower their risk for adult cancers decades later.
The study found that children who break up their sitting with three minutes of walking every half hour had lower levels of blood glucose and insulin, compared to when they remained seated for three hours. It was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. High blood glucose and insulin are risk factors for metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that also links to increased cancer risk among adults.
According to government data, more than one third of children and teens are overweight or obese. Kids who are overweight are more likely to be overweight adults, and excess body fat among adults is a cause of ten cancers.
If you’re a woman and getting at least 30 minutes a day of activity, that means a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Now a study published today suggests that women who exercised as teens for even an hour a week have a lower risk of dying from cancer in middle age and older compared to teens who weren’t active at all.
These women are also more likely to live longer overall, the study suggests, whether they exercised as adults or not.
The study included almost 75,000 Chinese women who were part of the Shanghai Women’s Health Study. The women were 40 to 70 years old and they had answered questions about their lifestyle habits currently and decades earlier.
After an average of 13 years, the researchers looked how many of the women had died overall, and whether the cause of death was from cancer or cardiovascular disease.
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.