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Physical fitness reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome in kids

Once again, I want to revisit the topic of physical exercise among kids. It’s nice to see our kids running and playing outdoors having fun. But aside from enjoyment, physical activities and exercise may actually protect our kids from having metabolic syndrome, according to a recent study.

Metabolic syndrome is a problem among adolescents and symptoms of this disorder include hypertension, glucose intolerance, low HDL cholesterol, and obesity.

According to the American Heart Association, “people with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls … and type 2 diabetes.” It is currently estimated that over 50 million people in the US have metabolic syndrome.

A research by Robert McMurray and colleagues found that metabolic syndrome is related to two lifestyle factors that are actually alterable: obesity and lack of exercise. This is based on their study on 389 children aged 7 to 10 years old. They observed that adolescents with metabolic syndrome were 5 times less physically active and 6 times less likely to engage in aerobic exercise than those who don’t have the syndrome. They also found out that almost 5% of the children they studied develop metabolic syndrome within 7 years of their study. Based on these findings, they suggest that we parents should encourage our kids to be more active and physically fit, thus preventing metabolic syndrome. They also recommend that physical fitness should start as early as possible so that our kids will get the early protection.

Previous posts have touched on the benefits of physical exercise on children’s blood pressure and bone development.

Need some pointers to keep your kids active? Check out these strategies and these games.


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