April 16, 2007
Most Active Kids Eat Most And Skinniest

Evidence for the idea that exercise is the key to controlling weight:

Teens who are most physically active and consume the most calories are the leanest, researchers say.

“The take-home message would be to encourage your child to do as much vigorous physical activity as possible, including at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity on a daily basis,” says Dr. Paule Barbeau, exercise physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia and corresponding author on the paper in the April issue of The International Journal of Obesity. “This allows your child to eat more calories, which encourages more healthy eating habits while remaining in energy balance.”

The kids who ate the least were the fattest:

Also interestingly, some teens who ate the least – they also moved the least and tended to be female – had the highest percent body fat. “If you think about teenagers trying to restrict their energy intake, they usually are not going to be doing a lot of physical activity to stay at that energy balance because they will be tired,” Ms. Stallmann-Jorgensen says. “We really expected the energy intake to be lower in kids who were leaner but when we started thinking about it we realized the leaner kids were at a different energy balance than the others,” Dr. Barbeau notes.

We need easier ways to mix exercise into our work schedules. I will repeat what I most want to see: Businesses should add exercise bicycles and stair stepper machines to meeting rooms. Then people called into status meetings, design meetings, and training classes could get exercise while doing meetings.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 April 16 10:04 PM  Brain Appetite

JMG3Y said at April 17, 2007 5:38 AM:

With regard to your last comment, converting the sitting office into an active office may be another way.

Mayo Clinic Creates "Office of the Future": Lose weight while you work

"Most visitors think they've walked into a gym. The creator of the "Office of the Future" is quick to correct them. "This is a fully functioning office. My entire staff works here," explains James Levine, M.D., as he walks on a moving treadmill that serves as both desk and computer platform. "The idea is to introduce an environment that will encourage activity in the workplace. Just as it's hard to be a couch potato without a couch, it's hard to sit all day at work without a chair or a conventional desk or cubicle."

Walking While Working... Join the Movement...
(This site appears to be dedicated to the walking office, having many links to off-site items)

Joshthenutritionist said at April 17, 2007 11:29 AM:

An interesting finding, but the comments in the article about diet were alarming,

"In fact, researchers couldn’t compare the diet quality of leaner and chubbier teens because overall, it was so poor, says Inger Stallmann-Jorgensen, research dietitian and the paper’s first author.

“The majority of the kids did not have enough whole-grain food, they did not have enough low-fat dairy products, they did not have enough fruits and vegetables,” Ms. Stallmann-Jorgensen says. Instead, most days were packed with starches, salty snacks, soft drinks and “fruit-ades” such as lemonade that didn’t actually contain fruit juice.

“Eating habits formed during our youth tend to stay with us into adulthood, so this does not bode well for prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease,” Ms. Stallmann-Jorgensen notes."

Yes maybe children that are most active can get away with a poor diet when they are young and not become obese, but as they age these poor eating habits are going to have a long-term effect on health. Fact is you have to eat to live, you don't have to exercise. This is not the same as saying exercising is not good for health, it just is not as vital to life as diet.

Nick said at April 18, 2007 8:51 AM:

This looks like a poor-quality study: they "queried" the students about their eating, so this is a self-reported study, not a controlled study.

Overweight kids don't report their intake accurately. All we know from this study is that overweight kids "claim" to eat less, which is not surprising, as they're going to be embarrassed about it. People under-report things they know will be disapproved of, without even thinking about it.

I know someone who claimed to eat very little, and yet be unable to lose weight. He skipped meals in order to lose or maintain weight. Well, once he visited us and I could observe what he really ate: after a few hours he was dying for ice cream, and ate quite a lot. On questioning, it turned out this was a normal pattern! He just didn't count that food as part of his diet - I suspect he didn't even remember it when reporting what he ate.

My understanding is that intake differences ascribed to "more efficient metabolism" and so on, disappear when people are put in a controlled setting, like a hospital.

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