Children with Obesity are Not Moving Enough!
A new study out of the UK finds that kids and teens, who are already diagnosed with obesity, and kids with non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) syndrome, are likely not moving enough. This study out of the United Kingdom has parallels with other western countries experiencing significant rates of childhood obesity. The study also found that kids with NAFLD are also likely not meeting certain vitamin and mineral goals.
What is NAFLD or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?
This is a term and diagnosis used to describe accumulation of fat in the liver, not associated with regular alcohol consumption. The disease typically has no frank symptoms. It can result in inflammation and scarring of the liver. In some cases NAFLD can progress to liver failure.
Risk factors for NAFLD include:
• Type 2 diabetes
• Sleep apnea
• Metabolic syndrome
• High levels of circulating triglycerides
• Polycystic ovarian disease
• High cholesterol
The researchers compared diet and physical activity patterns of 24 kids in the UK living with NAFLD, with children diagnosed with obesity who did not have liver disease. They used questionnaires and pedometers to collect the study data. Noted findings:
• Children with non-fatty liver disease were likely to be “restrained eaters,” meaning that having their diagnosis seemed to have impact on their eating behaviors and food choices.
• Children diagnosed with NAFLD did seem to take more steps daily.
• Both the children with obesity and the children with the liver disease were found to be significantly sedentary on weekends.
The researchers found that the diagnosis of this type of liver disease seemed to change physical behaviors in the kids, despite the fact that a diagnosis of obesity by itself should actually inspire increased activity and put more focus on seeking fitness opportunities.
Current research data suggests that NAFLD is being diagnosed at younger ages.
Children diagnosed with obesity and with this type of liver disease need to emphasize more minutes of physical activity in their lives. Fitness activities can enhance dietary efforts to lose weight and can also help with overall energy balance.
HealthCorps gets kids to move more. Why not require your kids to get up and move during television commercials? Parents can also set an example. Let your kids see that fitness is important to you. In this case actions do speak louder than words!
Other quick tips to help get your child engaged with fitness:
• Have kids commit to a sports activity. If it helps, volunteer to be coach or assistant coach to motivate them.
• For every 60 minutes of screen time (TV, Video, Internet) require your child or teen to engage with physical activities.
• Plan weekend fitness activities for the whole family.
• Get pedometers for the whole family and have contests to see who achieves the most steps daily and weekly.