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Sport Is Unrelated To Obesity In Children 594

Posted by kdawson
from the who-you-callin-fat dept.
xiox writes "The UK government is planning to stop funding a study to understand obesity in children. The study fits children with accelerometers to measure how much energy each child uses in a day by moving. The results are surprising. Those children who do sports at school do not burn more calories than those who don't. Furthermore there is no correlation between body mass index and the number of calories used! The results are very interesting, suggesting that genetics and diet are the main reasons for childhood obesity, not sport. The UK government is trying to increase the amount of sport in schools."
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Sport Is Unrelated To Obesity In Children

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  • by tuxlove (316502) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:46PM (#18342011)
    Even if sports don't help children keep slim, it is proven that it helps adults (in addition to genetics and diet, of course). People who start out as active young children are probably more likely to stay active into adulthood, at least moreso than less active kids. So in that sense, by teaching kids to exercise and be fit, you will potentially increase adult fitness. This alone justifies fitness programs in school.
    • by cluckshot (658931) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:54PM (#18342085)

      I have no argument with the studies but I thought throwing a few more facts in the soup might be interesting.

      Normally animals and for that matter people given unlimited diets will only have a few individuals get fat. As a general rule diet and for that matter exercise just have little or no effect. We do know several things that to cause weight gain. It is known for example that deliberate malnutrition will cause weight gain. (anybody heard of a feed lot? Thats what it does. ) Genetic engineering of late has been producing the same effect as the feed lot diet.

      There are a lot of other factors like loss of sleep. Maybe our society and lifestyle really are a disease. We tend to get an arrogant disregard for sleep in our society and we also get a disregard of the quality of our food having food sellers pushing foods that are grown in conditions that don't exactly produce the best balanced nutrition.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TubeSteak (669689)

        We do know several things that to cause weight gain. It is known for example that deliberate malnutrition will cause weight gain.

        I've tried "deliberate malnutrition" aka "a diet" and managed to lose 30 pounds.
        Maybe you meant nutritional deficiencies will cause weight gain?
        Maybe you meant to say weight loss?

        (anybody heard of a feed lot? Thats what it does. ) Genetic engineering of late has been producing the same effect as the feed lot diet.

        What does fattening up animals on a high energy diet (the feedlot di

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cluckshot (658931)

          To clarify the content of various foods contains a ratio of various items. I don't want to go into exactly which ones -- too much to say if I did. The ratio determines the nutritional value of the foods similar to the air/fuel ratio in a gasoline engine but more complex. If you stuff in all kinds of one item such as protein or fat or carbohydrate and don't match them with the proper vitamins and minerals the situation gets out of hand. Your body will demand more stuff to fill in the ratio. Or it will s

      • I disagree. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by porkchop_d_clown (39923) <mwheinz@NOSPAm.me.com> on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @10:33PM (#18342955) Homepage
        I once managed to lose 95 pounds. Kept it off for several years. For me, the trick that broke the barrier was weight lifting. Diet by itself just made me weaker - I kept the fat and lost muscle. Aerobics boosted my energy levels but didn't burn weight. (Of course, I was so heavy that "aerobics" was barely a mile run).

        Weight lifting forced my body to add muscle mass which boosted how many calories I burned during a day. The big problem I have now is that I'm getting older and, frankly, lifting and I don't get along as well as we used to...
      • by arivanov (12034) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:03AM (#18344893) Homepage

        Not correct for the subject in hand. The subject is UK schools .

        This morning I dropped of junior at school and I noticed a big sign: No play in the playground allowed, dangerous BIG holes in the playground. There were two holes, both 1-2 inch wide, 1 inch deep. For the reference the school is Queens Edith Primary in Cambridge UK.

        The way UK schools (based on observations from the same school) understand physical education is - you put kids in class, tell one to do an exercise, the rest watch. There is a variation on this when you show the exercise and they do it. There is no warmup whatsoever. If a child decides to warm up by doing a run around for 5 minutes he is penalized and chastized as a troublemaker. Compared to that on the continent they make them all run for at least 200m in the under 10 age group, going to 600+ for the older ones at the beginning of the lesson. As a result the exercise value in the UK is minimal and it is actually hazardous from a health and safety perspective as the children have had no warmup.

        In addition to that in the UK all other obesity related factors are obscured by one other - vitamin D defficiency past the nursery age. 95% of the kids show bone deformations characteristic for that - X legs, rachitic skull, the lot. The primary reason for this is the anti-sun + suncream obscession which leads to most kids getting less than the essential doze of sun for activating vitamin D to the required degree (30min daily average unhindered summer sun at UK lattittude for an average white caucasian, going up to 1h+ in spring, autumn and winter, with the numbers for darker skin colour being bigger than that). Add to that the fact that kids are ferried around in buggies restrained with minimal movement till the age of 4 and the picture is mostly complete (mine refused to get into it from the age of 2 and I agreed with him).

        From there on kids are bound to be obese. Until these factors are eliminated any study in the UK will be bogus as a large sample of the juvenile population is already highly susceptible to obesity and no physical education or sport can help them in that. Nothing to see people, move along. Another study which concentrates on everything but the two root causes for UK:

        • The rabid propaganda by the UK cancer research soscieties about skin cancer will kill by an order of magnitude more people from vitamin D defficiency related causes like bone problems and obesityt, than it will save.
        • The UK pram obscession is the other main reason for obesity. Get the kids out, they are not a damn toy doll to ferry around.
        Stating either of these is too unpopular so people do studies on everything but these.
    • by dsanfte (443781)

      Even if sports don't help children keep slim, it is proven that it helps adults (in addition to genetics and diet, of course).


      Well, you just covered all the possibilities in a single sentence, and effectively said nothing.

      I'd like to see accellerometers fitted to adults in the same way as with children. Then we can make a real comparison.
    • by Latent Heat (558884) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:13PM (#18342231)
      Perhaps some gym class/athletic programs/sports in school manage to promote sports elite and take the fun out of such activities for the majority of the other kids.

      If the emphasis is on competition and winning, the vast majority of school children don't belong to the few that are advanced a few months in maturation and have the muscle strength to dominate in these competitions and thereby most warm the bench. At all levels from the gym class through the "revenue sports" of high school football (yes, they charge money to watch these kids play football), the emphasis is on winning rather than having a rotation to keep as many kids involved, or even providing any degree of remedial sports training to offer any degree of encouragement or extra support for the kids who don't dominate their sports teams.

      There may be some cultural or social reasons for the less athletically gifted to try out for sports teams and be part of the team even if they play a minor supporting role, but the whole sports culture is a kind of primate dominance hierarchy thing rather than focused on keeping as many people physically fit.

      Also, I don't know if the Latin teacher is a frustrated Classics scholar, the English teacher is a frustrated attorney, or if the Math teacher is a frustrated research engineer (although the Physics teacher, if you had that subject, was always a little beyond the fringe), but the Gym teacher is most likely a frustrated athlete given the very broad pyramid of people attempting to make a career out of sports with a chosen few at the very tippy top.

      • by GuyfromTrinidad (1074909) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:55PM (#18342605)
        Being someone who works with an organization that promotes mass participation physical activities for children I can say that you have touched on a key issue. Physical activity with the pairing of the benefits of a healthy diet should be promoted and not the concept of sport that pits child against child and team against team. Sport is good but encouraging everyone to engage in a general healthy lifestyle which should include moderate to vigorous physical activity is key. And on a final note before I took up my job at this organization I was a "physical education" teacher (we prefer that over gym teacher, we are teaching a subject not a room) and I wasn't a frustrated former athlete and though there is a percentage of former athletes who become PE teachers, its not as high as you think.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rsadelle (719824)
          My tenth-grade PE teacher got it. When we played things like badminton or pickleball (things that didn't have the whole class involved in one game), she would have us self-select into one of three groups: competitive, semi-competitive, and non-competitive. That really let those of us who weren't very athletically inclined just play without worrying about all the competitive stuff while also letting the athletic types play competitively.

          On rainy days when everyone (several classes worth of students) had to p
      • by zippthorne (748122) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @10:36PM (#18342987) Journal
        Competition may be frustrating for people who continuously lose, but getting rid of it makes the games boring for everyone. The trick is to segregate them into groups of equivalent skill without singling out anyone into the "loser's league."

        Perhaps by having non-conventional or out-of-season sports run concurrently with the vanilla sports. The better athletes seem to prefer the regular events, while the less skilled could simply choose something else if frustrated, always with the excuse, "well I like dodgeball, pickleball, badminton, or curling more than basketball, baseball, football, or boring football (a.k.a soccer)."

        Any sports not practiced at home will even the playing field as well, so there's no reason to restrict anyone to any strata.

        Anyone who says dodgeball is stupid better not play FPSs.
      • but every school I've encountered recently (via my children) goes to great extremes to eliminate competition and anything else that might damage the self-esteem of the precious little emperors.

        It's ridiculous. Trophies for everybody! And it's not like the kids don't realize that the trophies are worthless, either.

        They do the same thing in business-based athletics; I went to a martial arts competition where they subdivided the children into so many categories that everyone was guaranteed to finish in the "to
    • by gringer (252588)

      by teaching kids to exercise and be fit, you will potentially increase adult fitness.

      Except the article mentioned that increasing the frequency of opportunity at school for activity had no significant effect on the total activity level of the child. What you'd probably need to do is look at the ones who were more active in school, and encourage their family to get more active outside the classroom — which is much harder to do at a social engineering level.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JanneM (7445)
      Even if sports don't help children keep slim, it is proven that it helps adults (in addition to genetics and diet, of course). People who start out as active young children are probably more likely to stay active into adulthood, at least moreso than less active kids. So in that sense, by teaching kids to exercise and be fit, you will potentially increase adult fitness. This alone justifies fitness programs in school.

      For a dumpy, awkward kid like myself, a school fitness program is an excellent way to guaran
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by niiler (716140)

      As someone who works in a gait lab (in the other half of my life) and presents at the Gait and Clinical Motion Analysis Society Conference [amrms.com], I am highly skeptical of any claims that accelerometer data can be correlated with energy expenditure. As an example of a small study that showed no correlation between the two, see here [obesityresearch.org]. Essentially, there are too many other variables involved in energy expenditure, the most prominent of which is lean body mass. Accelerometers are blunt instruments compared to the

  • Incomplete Story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:47PM (#18342021) Homepage Journal
    Recent studies also show that overweight people who excercise are less likely to suffer heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments than people of 'normal' weight who do not excercise.

    This is a bit misleading and I hope it doesn't discourage the efforts to get kids to excercise more.
    • by ToastyKen (10169) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:59PM (#18342129) Homepage Journal
      And in reverse, lack of obesity doesn't mean you're healthy. You can be skinny all your life but still have high cholesterol and whatnot.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cerberusss (660701)

        And in reverse, lack of obesity doesn't mean you're healthy. You can be skinny all your life but still have high cholesterol and whatnot.
        True. But at least you'll get laid :-D
    • by spineboy (22918)
      Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, @10:01PM
      People can still be fat and "in shape", or thin - it just matters if your heart is used to exercising.

      The New England Journal of Medicine looked at obese and thin people about 7 years ago and compared their eating/exercise habits. The overweight people typically underestimated the amount of food they ate by 1/2 and overestimated the amount of exercise they did by two times.

      Weight is basically a function of how many calories you consume. Two people can eat the sa
  • by cmburns69 (169686) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:49PM (#18342039) Homepage Journal
    This is an article [nytimes.com] I found from digg that was very enlightening.
     
    ... And a quote from a nutritionist I know: "The childhood obesity epidemic is an epidemic of news stories, not a problem itself."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:31PM (#18342375)

      The childhood obesity epidemic is an epidemic of news stories, not a problem itself.

      Horseshit. When I was in school 20 or so years ago, you could count the number of fat kids (in a school of 2300 students) on your fingers, and a child who would be considered obese by today's standards was virtually unheard of. At my kids' schools, it's easier to count the kids who aren't fat than the ones who are, and there's at least one obese kid in any group larger than about ten.

      I know it's all the rage to pretend that whatever problems our society causes itself don't actually exist, but this one is pretty easy to nail down. Anybody who says we don't have a serious problem with kids and their poor eating habits and lack of activity is either an idiot or a liar.

    • by jweller (926629) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:55PM (#18342603)
      excellent article, thanks for linking it. Seems I never have mod points when I want/need them. I started by cutting hydrogenated oils out of my diet, I'm working on high fructose corn syrup. I'm not 100% on either one, but I'm making conscious choices to cut back on both. I know this will be blasphemy on this site, but Mountain Dew contains "brominated vegetable oil". Gatorade, a "health" drink contains "glycerol ester of wood rosin". Tell me honestly, is there any way you would put that in your body if it wasn't hidden in some mile long ingredient list?

      Watching my 10 year old niece grow up, I can say with some certainty, that obesity is at least in part, a learned behavior. She has been fed a steady diet of fast food and sweets, and is essentially instructed to "sit in front of the TV while Mommy does something else". Watching her morbidly obese mother sneak food and gorge herself to find solace has only reinforced negative eating habits. My wife and I took her skiing last weekend and she lied to me about her weight. 10 years old and she is ashamed of how heavy she is. She was almost in tears when my wife and I explained to her that for her own safety, she had to tell us what she weighed so her ski bindings could be set properly.

      breaks my heart.....
      • by CosmeticLobotamy (155360) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @11:04PM (#18343213)
        I know this will be blasphemy on this site, but Mountain Dew contains "brominated vegetable oil"

        I'm not that afraid of bromine or vegetables. But a can of the stuff is 170 Calories. That's about 1/12th of what most people need in a day to not gain weight. 2 cans of the stuff, and an adult is well on its way to gaining a couple ounces that day.

        But mostly I blame fruit juice for kid obesity. It's just as fattening as soda, which is hugely fattening, but somebody convinced parents it's good for you. 160 Calories per cup of a liquid (that barely satisfies any kind of hunger in most people) is not at all good for you. I was a fatty-fat as a kid, and my parents took me off soda and put me on juice. Not a lot of results from that one. I know a girl that is worried about her kid's weight but feeds him 100 Calorie juice boxes at every meal because it's healthy and won't grasp that the Vitamin C won't help him when he dies of a heart attack at 38. Switch that with water, your kid will lose a pound every 12 days. Absolutely guaranteed. Drop 1 juice box a day, and he'll lose a pound a month. Or at least gain a pound less. That stuff is evil.

        Not that I think it should be illegal to sell the stuff or anything, but if the government spent a few of those research bucks on running commercials with graphs of how (Calorie input - Calorie output) / 3500 ALWAYS* equals weight change (get the guy from the Oxy-Clean commercials to yell the "ALWAYS" part), we'd be a lot better off. Of course, it would put all the many profitable, tax-paying voodoo diets out of business. Not that I think there's a conspiracy, I don't, but a lot of people would get mad if we were all skinny.

        * Plus or minus a tiny, tiny bit that evens out to 0 over the long term and discounting (the very small) changes in metabolism resulting from lowered food intake. Metabolic conditions also (possibly) excepted. This part doesn't need to go in the commercial. This is just hear to discourage nitpicking on the obvious stuff.
  • I'm skeptical... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by recursiv (324497) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:50PM (#18342041) Homepage Journal

    Furthermore there is no correlation between body mass index and the number of calories used!


    Body fat isn't magic. It comes from food you eat. If you are exercising more and still have more weight, it means you are eating too much. People need to stop looking for excuses.

    And yes, BMI sucks.
    • Agreed.

      Genetics works over time. I don't see a miracle happening where we are breeding at the rate of bacteria to go thru hundreds of generations to breed 'fat' people.

      My parents weren't fat. My grandparents weren't fat- at least in the old bw photos I saw. My grandparents parents weren't fat, so far as we can tell from their pics.

      I'm overweight. In fact, by the new guidelines, I'm obese- 230lbs / 6'2".

      Frankly, I blame the chinese. Food that is- it's too good eatin... now where's my 5lbs for 5$ special
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It isn't magic. That said, there are many other factors at play and some of those may play bigger role in some individuals than others. Using myself as an example, I eat a lot. Ever since puberty, I consume a big amount of food each time, 3 times a day plus snacks and stuff in between. Yet, I am underweight. There were periods in my life where I did a lot of sports and there were periods where I practically did nothing but sat in front of a computer day after day, went home, sat on the couch watching a bit
      • by Qzukk (229616)
        What is annoying is the fact that the research funding is stopped because it does not agree with the conclusion the UK government wants. That is not about science anymore. So they want to make children more active to be healthier. Good. That alone should be enough a reason regardless of what the research says, but they shouldn't stop funding a research because they don't like the conclusion.

        This is the real story here. Everyone missed that in their haste to post about counting calories (hint, there is no s
  • I'm confused (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LS (57954) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:51PM (#18342047) Homepage
    So are these scientists claiming that children don't expend energy while exercising? Don't the laws of conservation apply to children as well, or are they from an alternate universe? The UK should be careful publishing these results, lest some nut starts enslaving children to build his perpetual motion device.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No, you misread the article (or summary at least)... it doesn't say that exercising and sports didn't result in calories being burned. You must consider that other things besides "exercise" result in calories being burned... walking or riding a bike to school, or even simply having restless legs. My legs are almost always moving - I can't keep them still. I eat about 3500 calories a day, I am 5'7" and I weight ~125 lbs and I've never had a gym membership. I also typically ride a bike 6 miles a day during
    • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:53PM (#18342591)
      Basically it is saying that every child has a total limit on the activity they do in a day/week. And those limits are all about the same. So if the child is more active during school doing things like sports, they are less active out of school because they are tired. The children who were less active in school sports were more active outside of school doing other things, playing, riding bikes, running around outside, etc., etc... The end result is that it doesn't seem to matter if you promote activity in school since the net total activity is approximitely the same between people active in school verses not active in school. Which means that the problem is not that people are not as active as they have been in the past, it is the food and portions of food they are eating along with their genetic disposition to the kinds of food. Activity level is not a part of the problem of childhood obesity according to this research as it appears that the activity level at least between people who are over-weight and those who are not is not statistically linked. Further study may be able to prove that activity level is not linked to being over-weight. The problem with this conclusion is the fact that it means the food is the problem. And governments have not been very keen on attacking the food industry. Only a few places have done that, and it is usually at the local level, as at the national level, the food industry has too much lobby'ing power in most democratic governments.
      • Also... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Fallen Kell (165468)
        Sorry to reply to my own post, but I realized I wanted to say more...

        Another reason governments have shy'ed away from the food industry is due to most people's feeling that they have the right to choose what they want to eat. I mean, think about it, there would be an uproar if we could no longer put salt on our food. Or can not use butter on a piece of bread. Or make a flourless chocolate cake. Or, etc., etc., etc... People simply won't stand for it. What you can do is educate people on how to properly eat
      • by drgonzo59 (747139) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @02:43AM (#18344303)
        The problem with this conclusion is the fact that it means the food is the problem.

        Yes, food is the problem. It is a problem in U.S. The best way to notice is to move there from a part of the world that still cooks their meals at home and don't have a McFatolds at any corner. I grew up in Eastern Europe. Growing up my mother prepared a large array of home foods, all kinds. I have always loved fruits (like apples and peaches) and vegetables and legumes (like tomatoes, garlic and beans). Everything was prepared at home by my mother from raw ingridients, we didn't even eat out because we couldn't afford it.

        When I came to U.S. all my peers liked to eat hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, mac and cheese and of course, fries. They all hated vegetables! I thought "how sad", the chain resturants have gotten these kids addicted to crap. Now I am married to an american and my wife still gets excited a lot more about pizza, fries and mac and cheese even though she rationally knows that grilled chicken with a light tomato sauce, or a salad with olive oil and vinegar is much better -- that doesn't matter. The emotional response for her is that "junk foods are somehow FUN!" and "veggies are BORING!".

        Perception makes a huge difference. I see a pot of beans and I get excited -- "Woo, beans and toast!" she sees it and thinks "Yuk, but I guess I have to eat cause it's supposed to be better than a McFatburger".

        My theory is that children here are just not exposed to good food. Just look at what babies and toddlers start eating here -- cerial, high carb, high fructose corn syrup + carbs kind of foods. Have you ever seen a "children's" menu in U.S.? -It is the "happy heart-attack by the time you are 30 in a shiny box" -- fries, corndogs, pizza and hamburgers. All these children grow up and do we really expect them to one day say "Hmm, I think I'll have some caviar or a grilled chicken breast with basil and olive oil?" No, they will still eat the same crap they grewu up eating. Everyone is obsessed about the calories they eat, I think they should be obsessing more about the quality of the food, not just pure calories.

  • by MonkeyBoyo (630427) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:51PM (#18342055)

    Those children who do sports at school do not burn more calories than those who don't.
    There are many multiple-child families in which some children engage in strenuous sports while others do not. They can all tell you that the sporty children eat a whole lot more than the non-sporty ones.
  • Moo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chacham (981) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:53PM (#18342069) Homepage Journal
    While this may show interesting correlations, the fact remains that if more calories are burnt than are consumed, the body will lose weight.

    When kids exercise more, they also eat more, and the body tries to retain the same reserves while burning off more calories. Eating no more, or just a little more, will be fine and the subject will still lose weight.

    It's when the eating leads to significantly ore eating that there is a problem.

    So, exercise and diet are required. But that isn't news. We've known this for quite some time.
  • by Original Replica (908688) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:57PM (#18342111) Journal
    Ok in growing children, physical activity doesn't have as much direct effect as I would have assumed. But I made that assumtion based on the direct effect that physical activity has on the health of adults. If school is there to help prepare our youth to be highly functional adults, learning to value physical fitness and activity is still an important thing to instill in the kiddies, not just for health but for general succes in life. "No woman or guy wakes up beautiful in the morning. The beautiful is a result of smart life choices, smart shopping choices, smart diet choices, smart makeup choices, smart outfit and accessories choices and even smart chair-stylist choices." "It is not just politicians whom we prefer to be beautiful. A number of studies, many involving American economist Daniel Hamermesh, have found that "ugly" people earn less in many walks of life, from advertising to law. The beauty premium seems to apply even in professions where there is no reason to expect that beauty counts."

    Both quotes from:http://www.slate.com/id/2161615/ [slate.com]
  • by physicsphairy (720718) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @08:59PM (#18342131) Homepage

    Those children who do sports at school do not burn more calories than those who don't.

    Startling--this is apparently the next wave of human evolution--a breed of child that can expend energy without depleting any of its energy reserves.

    It is only a matter of time before this unlicensed borrowing from the aether bears grave repercussions for the laws of physics.

    In the meanwhile, however, I suggest rigging up these children to some sort of power collection device. We can retard global warming by moving away from fossil fuels to infinite-energy-children fuels, and thereby ensure a safe future for our mutant underlords!

  • by Forrest Kyle (955623) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:00PM (#18342135) Homepage
    We have here a "scientific study" that shows that conservation of energy doesn't apply to children. It makes me wonder what other spurious crap we accept as truth because a "study" was done.

    If this study is true, then I would like to build a car powered by children on excercise wheels. It seems clear to me that they don't require any extra energy to excercise so, hey, free energy.
  • I would like to say that bicycle commuting to and from work do help in reducing obesity.

    I have embarked on a daily program of commuting by bicycle 10 miles
    round trip and a weekly ride of 50 miles round trip since August of
    2006 and I have notice a big difference.

    I have lost at least three to four inches on my waist and I have been
    feeling a lot better overall.

    Lately, I have increased my riding so that I do the 50 mile round trip two
    to three times per week. A goal is to average three to four days per week
    where I do the 50 mile round trip. That trip by the way also includes a
    900 foot hill each way.

    My manager at work has told me that he's seen a big difference as early as
    October (2 months after I started this program).

    One complaint that I do have is that my childhood shcool did not let us ride
    our bikes to school. I hope that this policy is changed.

    Perhaps if we let (or insist) that our kide ride bicycles to and from school,
    this might help. It may also eliminate the guzzling and belching shcool
    busses.

    Hugs and peace

  • 1. This suggests what many geeks have been suggesting for a long time: Eliminate PE from the required school cirriculum. Every since it was made mandatory under (IIRC) Kennedy, Americans have only gotten fatter. It doesn't help the problem, and it institutionalizes the bullying of the weak by the strong. Could we better compete with China if, instead of running around a gym for an hour, every American high school student got an extra hour of math, science, or computer instruction? (Given teacher's unions, its no sure thing, but it certainly couldn't hurt.) let those who want to take PE as an elective, and let the rest get smarter rather than sweatier.

    2. If other diets haven't worked, try putting Little Tubby on Atkins. No, it won't necessarily work for everyone. It depends on the type of metabolism you have. But if you've tried low-fat and it doesn't work, Atkins (or another carb-restrictive diet) might.

    • Physical Education is just that Physical Education. I'm not an athlete, I'm a computer geek, but I fully support phys ed in school:

      1) Phys Ed gives kids activity to expend energy. Studies show exercise helps not just the body but the mind.

      2) Phys Ed encourages physical activity which is important as an Adult. Exercise may not help childhood obesity (which is still questionable, you know how these quack studies pop up on slashdot regularly just to drum up hits), but it definitely helps as you are an adult.

      3) What's wrong with learning about Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, Football, Lacrosse, Archery, Wrestling, track, tennis, softball, volleyball, bowling, or Badminton? If we shouldn't learn about these activities, then we shouldn't anything past the 6th grade. If this isn't important, then Shakespeare, Calculus, world history, and Chemistry aren't important.

      As for Atkins, that's a half assed answer to health for kids. You don't just try diets to get a kids weight down. That's poor education. If you keep a kid active, regulate how much they eat and they are still obese, take them to a doctor and get it looked at. Otherwise don't obsess about their weight, and don't go crazy. Some kids will be fat, others won't. Teach them to feel good about themselves, don't teach them to go nuts about their weight and start getting them on ties as some kind of experiment.
  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:14PM (#18342239)
    There has been a lot of backlash over the growth hormones in meat and milk. It's why so many "organic" products are hitting the shelves. It does make a difference.

    I just don't buy it that people's genetic makeup has changed that much in just a few decades that we are now turning out little fat farm children. It's too convenient of an excuse. Exercise and diet are two big factors that also govern obesity. As others pointed out, sedentary sweet-eating children become sedentary sweet-eating and fat teenagers and adults.

    But a factor not so many know about are all the hormones injected into animals and added to their food so they get nice, fat, and juicy faster and on less food. Humans also respond to a lot of those hormones. Just the way the animals do.
  • by 3seas (184403) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:16PM (#18342247) Journal
    It's in alot more then soda and it is even now being put into bread that you probably were buying before it was added.

    cheap by-product sweetner that adds as much a 1/3" to your triglicerid count (translates into fat)

    You can drop your weight by simply removing it from your diet. I lost 30 pounds in less then three months that way and others I've told have lost weight for removing it from their diet.

  • ...how much these kids eat and how fat they are?

    I always figured there was a reason they called them the "laws" of thermodynamics.
  • I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that families that are sports oriented don't have enough time to cook healthy meals and as a result, eat out more often. There's a reason why they feature the stereotypical soccer mom in commercials advertising fast (often microwaveable) food.
  • Ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:21PM (#18342285) Homepage Journal
    I suggest everyone tag this with a "BS" tag.

    Since when do accelerometers measure the amount of calories you burn? I could quite easily sit on a weight machine all day pumping iron, with an accelerometer sitting on my waist saying I'm doing no exercise.

    Unless these kids have found some sort of way to violate the conservation of energy, the kids that run around, instead of, say, sitting in one place, will have burned more calories than the other.

    I've worked with programs that do athletics with kids in afterschool settings, and believe me, they make a big difference in terms of childhood obesity. They aren't just exercise programs, but teach nutrition, healthy lifestyle choices, etc.
  • by Jartan (219704) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:25PM (#18342327)
    I'm amazed there are indeed thin people here on slashdot making their usual comments about their theories on why fat people are fat.

    Seriously though all the study showed was that fat kids tend to move around about as much as thin kids. That really has little to do with how in shape they are or how many calories they burn siting still due to having more muscle etc etc. Plus the human body can use vastly different methods to convert energy and all of them have different efficiency values.

    For example did the overweight kid stop running as soon as his body switched over to aerobic energy conversion because his lungs started hurting from breathing harder than usual? Theres no way the device can know something crucial like that unless it monitors more than mere movement.
  • by daeg (828071)
    I'm not saying the study isn't valid, but it reeks of bad science like the smoking "studies" that found smoking doesn't cause lung cancer.
  • Not Magic? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:26PM (#18342341)
    The fact of the matter is that, although metabolism is biochemistry, not magic, we still know very little about the actual mechanism of it. A normal person, joule for joule eats MUCH more energy than they need to expend. Why isn't everyone obese? Most of this gets excreted as waste products, some people's metabolism is more efficient in burning off excess energy, some people are more efficient at building muscle, repairing tissue, etc.

    The equation of obesity is not as simple as 3500kcal = 1lb. There are MANY factors that even for an underfed individual can cause them to gain weight...Just ask anyone who has ever been on prednisone. . .

    The following are just a few more examples of the things that are making us fat:

    Thyroid --- yup... it is possible that up to 10% of women have some amount of thyroid dysfunction. This is the metabolism center of your body... hmmm. Why so many? Might it be due to the flouride in most peoples water system that is known to damage the thyroid? It's curious that the "epidemic" began around the same time as water flouidation was introduced. Curiously, one of the first signs of hypothyroidism (that goes away with treatment) is an elevated blood pressure and cholesterol.

    Insulin --- All that high fructose corn syrup confuses the insulin cycle in your body and may cause it to store fat. Interestingly, the satiation that regular cane sugar delivers is due to part of the insulin cycle that does not react the same with HFCS and causes one to eat more.

    Cortisol --- Steroids, natural, environmental, or introduced drugs will all cause weight gain and hormonal problems. A friend of mine with lupus, who was having chemo as well as taking prednisone (cortisone) gained 50 lbs even though she vomited everything she ate for 2 months. Think stress. Interestingly, cortisol increases cholesterol and heart problems.

    Hormones --- everyone knows the birth control pill makes you gain weight. What you didn't know is that in many of the plastics we eat off of, drink out of, or have our food packaged in contain chemicals that mimica sex hormones, and can cause symptoms of increased testosterone or estrogen such as weight gain, hirutism, baldness, gynocomastia, sexual dysfunction, and depression.

    Monosodium Glutimate --- Before this salt became one of the most ubiquitous flavorings in pre-packaged foods, it was used in laboratories to create obese mice and rats. Yup... researchers found that adding MSG to the rodent's food not only caused them to eat more, but also increased (non-lean) body mass for mice on a regulated diet. A "safe" level of MSG has never been determined, and in many countries this additive is banned from food. In america, almost everything contains MSG. The food manufacturer's response: it will help the elderly eat more and gain weight. Yeah, but what is it doing to our children?
  • Obvious (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DebateG (1001165) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:30PM (#18342361)
    Anyone who has studied basic human metabolism should be able to figure this out. Exercise alone simply is a bad way to lose weight.

    The total energy expenditure (TEE) of the human body is determined by the following equation:

    TEE = BMR + PA + TEF

    BMR = Basal metabolic rate
    This is proportional to the lean body mass, not the BMI (which is a really bad measure of obesity). This is typically 60 - 70% of your TEE

    PA = Energy expended during physical activity
    This consists of around 20% of your energy expenditure

    TEF = Thermic effect of food
    This is the energy expended to digest food, typically 10% of kcal's consumed. This really doesn't really come into play in weight gain since eating more food still gives you excess calories (albeit at 90%) and eating less is still fewer calories.

    In other words, the majority of your energy expenditure is determined by your basal metabolic rate by a ratio of around 3.5 to 1. This is especially true in children whose BMR's are naturally higher than most adults'. This is not to say that exercise isn't useful. BMR is determined by lean body mass, which is determined by your muscle mass, which is determined by genetics and exercise. Exercise does help you lose weight, but it takes a lot longer than diet. Exercise also has independent benefits on cardiovascular health and a host of other health measures.

    So all those people who tell you that losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise aren't lying. That's simply the science.

  • I ran track and cross country for 2 years.

    My diet doubled, and I never gained a single pound, except for 10 lbs muscle gained during track season's weight-training, and which I would burn off during the next cross country season. Everyone in the sport was skinny as a rail, and had ultra-lean, and extraordinarily enduring muscles.

    It is also true that I don't normally gain weight outside of that sport, but as I said, while I was running my caloric intake doubled.

    It is with that observation that I declare the
  • The model, from BFFM (Score:5, Informative)

    by steveha (103154) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @11:37PM (#18343433) Homepage
    Here is a model of how the human body works with respect to fat gain and fat loss. This is my summary of my understanding of the material in a book called Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle [burnthefat.com] by a pro bodybuilder named Tom Venuto.

    Your body is designed to keep you alive, even in hard times when it's difficult to get enough food. Thus, if you simply cut your calories back (say, to 1200 kCal per day) your body will store fat at every chance it gets. If you are really only eating 1200 kCal per day, yet burning more than that, you must burn fat (and perhaps some good stuff like muscle) so you will lose weight. However, your body will store fat any chance it can, so if you eat extra you can gain fat, and once you stop the 1200 kCal per day regimen you are almost certain to gain fat. Worse, it is likely you lost muscle during the 1200 kCal per day regimen.

    So, the goal is for you to lose fat, without your keep-you-alive tricks kicking in and making your body stubbornly try to store fat. BFFM recommends multiple, smaller meals each day, rather than a few big ones. If you are eating every 3 hours, how can you be starving to death? Everything must be okay, so your body will let go of the fat. Also you need to get enough sleep, and try to avoid stress in general; stress is a signal that you are in hard times.

    Muscle is your friend for fat loss. Muscle burns calories 24/7, so having more muscle means your daily base calorie burn goes up. This paragraph is important, so feel free to read it again.

    The primary way to lose fat is through "cardio" exercise, aka aerobic exercise: running, bicycling, swimming, various gym machines like the elliptical or the stair climber, etc.

    Another good thing is to eat a diet that fires up your metabolism. Imagine for a second that you had an entire mouthful of glucose, and you swallowed it all. That will pass straight out of your stomach and go straight into your blood as blood sugar, so it's just about 100% efficient as a food. For fat loss, this is a bad thing. How about a mouth full of vegetable oil? Pretty darn easy to digest, and it will be easily stored as fat since it's fat to start out. Imagine instead you have a mouthful of lean protein (skinless chicken breast, if you eat meat; non-fat cottage cheese if you are vegetarian, say). First of all you will expend some effort chewing, and then your digestive system has to work very hard to tear apart the proteins and turn them into something that can pass into the blood stream. If I recall correctly, you can burn about 30% of the calories in a serving of lean protein, just in the effort it takes to digest it. So the bottom line rule here is: complex carbs, high fiber, and lean protein are much better than simple carbs, low fiber, and high fat foods. Corollary: if you want seconds of anything, let it be lean protein.

    So, BFFM tells you how to calculate a good portion size, so you don't eat too much. (If my instincts were good and I naturally took a good portion size, I'd probably not need a book like BFFM.) BFFM encourages multiple, smaller meals, with a high proportion of lean protein, and as much natural whole foods as possible (eat apples, not apple pie). BFFM encourages working out to increase lean muscle mass, plus cardio exercise to actively burn fat. If you do everything in the book, you will lose fat, unless you are one of the fraction-of-a-percent people who have a medical condition that keeps them fat all the time. (And if you are, you have probably figured that out by now.)

    Tom Venuto has nothing good to say about BMI. He points out that bodybuilders with less than six percent body fat might still have a high BMI, because muscle is heavy. Body fat percentage is the best indicator, and it's not that hard to get a useful measurement.

    He also has nothing good to say about Atkins. Carbs aren't your enemy; you need some. And the idea that you can eat as much fat as you want is just insane. You don't need t
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by avi33 (116048)
      This is a pretty good comment overall, but I think at least one point deserves more attention:

      The primary way to lose fat is through "cardio" exercise, aka aerobic exercise: running, bicycling, swimming, various gym machines like the elliptical or the stair climber, etc.

      Cardio exercise is a good way to lose weight, but it's very easy to deceive yourself because the exercise itself often burns off mostly water weight. Believe me, it's fun to get on the scale after a summer run and see you've lost 2 lbs, but
  • Life Style changes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vskye (9079) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:07AM (#18344909)
    In a nutshell:

    TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

    First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

    They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

    Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

    We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we
    rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

    As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

    Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

    We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

    We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and
    NO ONE actually died from this.
    We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank koolade made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because,

    WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING !

    We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

    No one was able to reach us all day.

    And we were O.K.
    We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.
    After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

    We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms.......

    WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

    We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth

    AND
    there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

    We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

    We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

    We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

    Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

    Imagine that!!
    The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.

    They actually sided with the law!
    ---

    About sums it up.
  • The China Study (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flajann (658201) <flajann&linuxbloke,com> on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @07:21AM (#18345537) Homepage Journal
    Anyone who have read The China Study [urlbit.us] would know, based on this study, that the biggest factor in our health is diet. According to Campbell, author of this book, a whole plant based diet is the most healthy ever. Animal protein is bad news and one should not consume more than 21 grams of it a day. You are better off not eating it at all.

    The processed foods that many of us eat appears to be the culprit for many of our current ills, including obesity and diabetes. And overloading our bodies with too much protein is simply doing all kinds of damage in the long run. We simply do not need that much protein, and we get an adequate amount of it from plant-based foods.

    Dairy is bad news as well, and should be avoided.

    As a father of a vegetarian household, where we've been vegetarian for over 12 years, I must say my kids are healthy as oxes. And it just amazes me how misinformed most people are about diet and nutrition. One of my daughters keeps getting weird questions like, "so where do you get your protein?" Well, duh, every living thing has protein in it!!!!!

    All I can say is read the book. This is not a fad book, but a serious scientific study. It does touch on the politics of meat as well, and I happen to agree with some of Campbell's conclusions. But seriously folks! The science is hard to deny.

  • by mjh (57755) <mark AT hornclan DOT com> on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @08:59AM (#18346575) Homepage Journal
    To me, the key information in this article is this:

    "Those children who had little opportunity at school to undertake activity were bouncing around after school whereas those who'd had a lot of opportunity durin gthe course of the school day settled down, and did relatively little," [Professor Terence Wilkin] said.

    "The most important thing (was) if you added the in-school activity to the out-of-school activity, they were exactly the same."

    IMHO, this just demonstrates the hubris of government to think that we are all a bunch of pawns that they can manipulate on a chess board. We respond to incentives. Add an enforced activity in one area that .gov controls, and we will respond by reducing that activity in an area that .gov doesn't control. We each have our own taste for the preferred level of that activity. When it's increased somewhere else by force, we'll automatically decrease it somewhere else. And the impact will be that because we're forced to do something that we would normally do on our own, we start to dislike the activity because we associate the "enforced" part with the activity.

    And this is not the only thing that this works for. Force us to wear seatbelts and we increase the level of risk taking that we take while driving. Why? Because the enforced reduction of risk through seatbelts allows us to feel relatively safe. And feeling safe, we will take risks elsewhere.

    IMHO, this is a perfect example of the hubris of government. And I find it ironic that at the end of the article, it suggests repeating that hubris by regulating the food industry. If we are forced out of bad but convenient food that we freely choose, what consequence will it have? What choice will we make to increase our convenience? Will we choose not to eat at those restaurants because we don't like the taste of the new regulated foods that are available? Will that increase unemployment? Will that result in increased poverty levels? Good grief, these people need to study economics before they start making policy recommendations!

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