When children increase their level of physical activity, they experience positive health benefits, which include less body fat, increased muscular strength and reduced risk factors for major diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other metabolic and lifestyle-related disorders, quickly, reveal new studies.
The studies were conducted in a lab led by David Nieman,Dr.P.H., FACSM, a professor of health and exercise science in Appalachian's College of Health Sciences.
In the study, 200 obese Chinese children were split into two groups. One group took part in a summer camp where they exercised three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon doing a number of activities that included swimming, running, cycling and ping pong.
The second group continued with their normal lives. Both groups maintained a caloric intake of 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day. The average child in the summer camp lost six to eight kilograms or 13 to 17 pounds.
"All of that exercise and weight loss combined to bring most of their risk factors down," Nieman said. "Their blood pressure went down and insulin sensitivity improved. They were able to handle their glucose better. They had a reduction in total cholesterol. So the overall metabolic health of these children improved in just six weeks."
In another study conducted as part of the BioMoto STEM Initiative, Nieman's laboratory tested seventh and eighth graders from the greater Charlotte area using a sophisticated battery of physical fitness tests. They found a key concern for these youth is their body fat levels.
The study is published in journal of Sport and Health Science.