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U.S. kids facing obesity ‘epidemic’

By Tim Sandle     Oct 13, 2016 in Health
Children in the U.S. rank 47 out of 50 countries measuring aerobic fitness, a sign of overall health and one connected with obesity. In light of this, Dr. Elaina George has provided Digital Journal readers with some health-related tips.
According to the New York Daily News, kids in the U.S. measure on the lower end of aerobic fitness. This relates to a recent global study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The data is drawn from studies conducted by scientists working at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the University of North Dakota. For the research, the scientists analyzed data on more than 1.1 million kids aged nine to one, from across the fifty selected countries. Each of the children was evaluated using a multi-stage fitness test also known as the "beep" test.
The multi-stage fitness test consists of a series of stages with different tasks. These assess a person’s maximum oxygen uptake. The most common variation of the multi-stage fitness test is the FitnessGram/Cooper PACER test.
With the fitness measure, the led author of the research, Dr. Justin Lang said: "Kids who are aerobically fit tend to be healthy; and healthy kids are apt to be healthy adults. So studying aerobic fitness in the early years is very insightful to overall population health.”
The researcher added: “It's important to know how kids in Canada or America fare on the world stage, for example, because we can always learn from other countries with fitter kids.”
In contrast to the poor position of U.S. children, countries like Tanzania, Iceland, Estonia, Norway and Japan occupy the top five slots. Canada fared moderately well placing just above middle of the pack. The U.S. stands only just above the country with the worst young person fitness record: Mexico.
Responding to the report, Dr. Elaina George (a Board Certified Otolaryngologist) has come up with five simple things that can be done to increase health and fitness in young people.
The first is to start exercising. Here Dr. George states “an increase in activity of as little as 20 minutes 3 times a week can make a difference in your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.”
The second step is to eat smaller portions in order to control the portions along with your intake of calories. This doesn’t mean always switching the type of food, just eating less of it. With the third tip, Dr. George recommends drinking more water. Here a typical person should be drinking one ounce per kilogram of his/her weight in water per day. This is because people tend to eat more when they are dehydrated because the signals in the body can confuse hunger with thirst.
The fourth tip is to avoid salt. Salt is doubly bad because it makes the body retain water and it dulls a person’s sense of taste when it comes to sugar. The fifth and final tip is to avoid high fructose corn syrup, which triggers a 'sugar high' that leads to a craving for more sugary foods.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine article is titled “International variability in 20 m shuttle run performance in children and youth: who are the fittest from a 50-country comparison? A systematic literature review with pooling of aggregate results.”
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