According to a new research, a majority of young children do not spend enough time exercising, increasing their risk of obesity later in life. This research highlights the importance of encouraging more movement from an early age.
This study, conducted at the University of Otago in New Zealand, is a world first, tracking the physical activity and sedentary levels of 438 boys and girls, from one to five years old.
The results showed that even though children were advised to have a physical activity (from light to vigorous) of at least three hours a day, many of the little ones followed by the researchers had a very sedentary daily lifestyle.
The least active children had a greater excess of body fat at age five, while children who were more active were less likely to have superfluous fat.
“The role of physical activity and sedentary behavior in preventing or promoting excessive weight gain at this young age is of considerable interest,” said author Kim Meredith Jones. “Since many children who are overweight at a young age remain overweight during their growth, early detection and early intervention are important.”
Dr. Meredith Jones added that more than 40 million children worldwide were classified as overweight or obese, and that early childhood was a critical time to encourage physical activity to prevent obesity later in life. life.
Extra pounds taken before the age of five can be stored until adolescence and beyond. In other terms, overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults.
“In terms of reducing sedentary life, the time spent using computers and other gadgets must be reduced in favor of other activities encouraging development, (…) we must also encourage children to stand more often than sit,” advised Dr. Jones.