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Kids & Teens

Children and physical activity

Children Are Less Active Worldwide

Global surveys show that children are becoming less and less active. A study conducted at University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, concluded that, in developed countries, children of all ages are at risk from declining physical activity levels—seen as early as 4 years old.

Teen obesity

Helping Teens With Obesity

Did you know that adolescent obesity has been linked to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, poor self-esteem, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, aggressive and destructive behavior, internet addiction, binging and purging, and other severe emotional outcomes (Reinehr 2018)? Emotional issues are often attributed to bullying and weight stigma.

Physically Active Kids

More Benefits for Fit Kids

Heart health is not simply about having a strong heart muscle; a healthy cardiovascular system requires a healthy nervous system that regulates the heartbeat and supports efficient functioning whether a person is feeling calm or stressed. A new study from Finland shows that more physically active and fit children have better cardiac regulation than those who are less active and less fit.

Why Kids Need More Water

Nutrition professionals have long known that the beverages our youth choose to drink can hugely affect their diet quality and health. Three new studies drive home the point that the best option comes from the faucet.

November 2019 Question of the Month: Supporting the Next Generation

What are you or your facility doing to support the next generation of fitness enthusiasts? Are you offering any kids’ physical activity programs at schools or other off-site community locations? Are you providing programs free to local youth—or, if fee-based, what are you offering and how are you reaching potential clients? Please share your success stories.
We want to hear from you! Email executive editor Joy Keller, [email protected]

New York Public Schools Trim the Meat

If the influx of no-beef burgers into supermarkets hasn’t convinced you that plant-based eating has gone mainstream, then perhaps Monday’s fare at New York City school cafeterias will. Starting this fall, more than 1 million students enrolled in the city’s public school system are only finding vegetarian breakfast and lunch options in cafeterias as part of the Meatless Monday campaign, says New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Teen Rebels Turn Away From Junk Food

We’ve long known that junk food marketing shapes the way our youth eat. After all, on any given day teenagers are exposed to a lot more advertisements for candy bars and soda than, say, cauliflower. Such is the power of food marketing on the growing brain. Now, a study in the April 2019 issue of Nature Human Behaviour has found that tapping into the rebellious inclinations of teenagers may get them to eat more salads.

Playing Team Sports Fights Depression in Boys

Participation in team sports not only helps children improve fitness and social skills; it’s also linked with development of the hippocampus region of the brain, according to research published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging (2019; doi:10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.01.011). In adults, lower hippocampal volume has been associated with depression for some time.

Children’s Diets Worsen With Age

Rising obesity rates in American children suggest that their diets leave a lot to be desired. Recently, researchers with the USDA Agricultural Research Service explored young people’s diets using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), which measures how well diets align with federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Pilates Helps Adolescents

6-week Pilates program improved core muscle endurance and hamstring flexibility among adolescents between 9 and 19 years with a history of back pain. Research findings from a preliminary study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice (2019; doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.01.006) showed that a 6-week Pilates mat exercise program with two 55-minute sessions per week can improve conditioning in both young males and young females.

Kids’ Inactivity: A Global Crisis

Children worldwide, in both developed and developing nations, are not engaging in enough physical activity, according to research published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health (2018; 15 [S251]). The report evaluated global trends using data from 49 countries across six continents. Nations with the most success in supporting active children are Slovenia, Japan and Denmark; the least successful nations are Ethiopia, Venezuela and China.

Children Have Natural Muscle Endurance

A recent study shows that children are suited to endurance activities, not only because kids have fatigue-resistant muscles, but because they recover quickly from high-intensity exercise—even more quickly than trained adult endurance athletes. Researchers conducted the study to determine whether prepubescent children are metabolically comparable to well-trained adult endurance athletes, since it’s been established that children can complete repeated high-intensity exercise bouts more easily than untrained adults.

An Action Plan to Combat Adolescent Obesity

Weight Watchers® set off a furor early this year when it announced plans to launch a free program for teens.

As we are in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic, critics pounced: Is a company named “Weight Watchers” that encourages weekly weigh-ins the proper vehicle for helping teens improve their health? Will the company trigger the development of an eating disorder in some teens? Is this just a ploy to lure new lifelong customers?

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