Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Fight Childhood Obesity on Multiple Fronts

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Fight Childhood Obesity on Multiple Fronts

Article excerpt

GENEVA -- Increasing physical activity levels in children and adolescents is just what the doctor should order to reverse the rate of childhood and adolescent obesity, according to Dr. Denes Molnar, professor and head of the department of pediatrics at the University of Pecs (Hungary).

Dr. Molnar reviewed the current literature discussing the role of physical activity in obesity prevention and management, and said he found good evidence linking health advantages with increased physical activity.

"There is an inverse relation between changes in physical activity levels and changes in [body mass index] and adiposity," Dr. Molnar said at the 16th European Congress on Obesity. " Recent studies have shown positive association between vigorous physical activity and cardiovascular fitness and a negative association between vigorous physical activity and fatness."

Recent data have shown that 15% of European children attending obesity centers suffer from metabolic syndrome. Physical inactivity adds to the complications of obesity, with statistics showing that 37% of coronary heart disease can be attributed to physical inactivity, compared with 19% and 13% from smoking and high blood pressure, respectively.

Dr. Molnar found that the percentage of American high school students participating in daily physical education classes is decreasing. In addition, studies show that the number of cars per family as well as the number of television sets per household has increased in a parallel fashion with obesity rates. Many studies indicate that the more time is spent watching television, the higher the rates of obesity.

A review of a cohort of studies in children has shown that high physical activity was associated with low obesity overtime, and vice versa. According to Dr. Molnar, the amount of physical activity steeply decreases as children get older, especially in girls. …

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