is a major problem affecting children all
over the world. The easy availability and high intake of junk food coupled with
a sedentary life spent in front of the television are major contributing
factors. A study assessed whether a higher weight during younger age affected
the health and the level of physical activity during adolescence.
The study measured body mass index annually in
children right from birth. The level of fitness was determined by conducting
tests at two ages, a shuttle run test at age 9 and a maximal cycle ergometer
test at age 17. A questionnaire was used to determine the physical activity
during leisure time at ages 9, 13 and 17 years.
Complete data regarding all the parameters under
study were obtained from 351 children.
It was found that the children with a lower BMI
between the ages of 2 and 7 years were more physically fit in adolescence. An
increase in leisure-time physical activity between the ages of 9 and 17 years
also improved physical fitness during adolescence.
The study thus reiterates the importance of
maintaining an appropriate weight and being physically fit right from childhood
in order to avoid health problems later in life.
1. Body mass index, fitness and physical activity from childhood through
adolescence; Katja Pahkala et al; Br J Sports Med