It has recently been proven that short bursts of activity lowers the chances of health issues in children and may temporarily prevent their risk for developing dangerous conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart issues or several types of cancer.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one third of both children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or suffering from obesity. It puts the nation’s youth at high risk for health problems that might gravely affect their lives in the future. However, it can be preventable with a better diet and regular exercise.
Those are words that have been read and heard many times before. However, it’s not a grueling program that requires hours upon hours or even breaking a sweat. For adults, a 15 to 20 minutes long walk would do. For children, just enough to raise their heart rate, which is not very much.
Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development have conducted a small test in order to ascertain how much a little time spent exercising can benefit young children. A number of 28 participants were involved in the study, who were further split into two groups.
One half would take 3 hours of a sedentary lifestyle, by watching television, reading or other activities that didn’t imply any sort of physical effort. The other half, however, while simultaneously undergoing the same inactive behavior, took 3 minute long breaks every 30 minutes, during which they would leisurely walk on a treadmill.
The children were tested to ascertain their glucose levels, insulin levels and fats. Then, their groups were switched, and those who sat for 3 hours were the ones receiving breaks that implied physical activities. After the test, the children returned to the clinic 7 to 30 days later, to be tested again.
The results showed that those who had been taking breaks and forced into small bursts of activity had 7% lower glucose level and 32% lower insulin levels. They also tested with lower levels of fatty acids that have been linked to type 2 diabetes when found in large amount, and lower C-peptide levels, which is an indicator of how strenuous the pancreas is working in controlling blood sugar.
The, albeit small, study has showed that even 3 minutes of activity every half an hour can be heavily impacting on children’s health for the better. On average, they spend 6 hours per day sitting, a behavior that has been linked to obesity and insulin resistance that leads to diabetes, but it may be more easily avoided with just a bit of effort.
Researchers hope that their study can be taken to a much larger scale and perhaps install certain programs in schools that will allow children to take short breaks in order to avoid future help problems. It’s a small price to pay for a big benefit.