What motivates a child to be active? Try this.

It’s “Back to school” time and that brings challenges in keeping kids active and healthy in the 21st century. In decades past, school provided much more than academic education; it also provided an environment conducive to the development of social and life skills. Lessons learned on the playground included important social skills such as cooperation, teamwork, conflict resolution, and peer communication. Physical education class provided an outlet to release energy, and establish the important lifestyle habit of physical activity on a daily basis.

The author at work (and play)

The author at work (and play)

With recess and physical activity time being cut to make more time for classroom learning, the struggle to keep kids healthy and active is harder than ever before. The sad truth is kids are expected to spend the majority of their day “sitting”, contributing to skyrocketing childhood obesity rates and overall health concerns — including increased cancer risk — for our next generation.

That said, the challenges don’t end when the bell rings. Kids today have succumbed to the “technology takeover”, spending more time living in the “virtual” world than in the real one. While kids in previous generations would play outside afterschool until dinner time, kids today run home to video games, television shows, text messages, and social media, increasing the amount of time they are sedentary.

We all recognize the issues and we want to overcome them, but what motivates a child to want to be active? To answer this question we must remove our “adult” motivations (lose Continue reading

New Study: A 20 Minute Daily Walk for a Longer Life

Today, a new study found that replacing even a small amount of that sedentary time with some physical activity could reduce early death for people of all weights and waist sizes. A growing body of research is linking sedentary behavior to cancer risk.make-time-break-time

The new analysis, published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, used data from over 334,000 people in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer Nutrition (EPIC) study to determine if overweight, obesity or large waist size would affect whether reducing sedentary behavior improves survival.

The investigators compared rates of mortality over twelve years, between four levels of physical activity (inactive, moderately inactive, moderately active and active) and categorized by BMI and waist size. Continue reading

Does Exercise Help Cancer Patients and Survivors?

There’s consistent and solid evidence that physical activity reduces risk of several cancers — such as colorectal and postmenopausal breast. Data is not as strong when it comes to survival but it’s growing, especially for breast and colorectal survivors.Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 12.23.16pm

That’s the latest from expert Christine Friedenreich, who led off the presentations about physical activity’s effect on survivorship at our research conference today.

Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) are considered the gold standard of studies, which would compare a random group of survivors who follow an exercise intervention to those not doing it. Currently, we don’t have RCTs but there is observational evidence showing benefits, said Friedenreich.

Exercise may supply its benefits in a number of ways: It may help patients complete their treatment or it could help control harms of the therapy. Animal studies suggest exercise may also help the therapy get to the tumor by improving blood flow.

But can the course of exercise alter the course of the disease? Two major studies highlighted will hopefully provide some answers. One is ALBERTA a major observational study focusing on exercise and breast cancer survivors. Then CHALLENGE is a randomized control trial investigating exercise among colon cancer survivors.

Here’s the guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine on exercise for survivors.

And here’s the latest on our CUP report that came out this month on survival and breast cancer.