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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Play Time!

It's summer! Time to get out and run, ride a bike, throw a ball, jump in a lake. It will make you happier, it will make you healthier, and it will help you lose weight.

A large and growing number of US kids are overweight: since 1980, obesity rates have tripled in children; around 14% of all 15-year-old boys, and around 15% of all 15-year-old girls, are now overweight. In the vast majority of those cases, the causes are simple: they eat too much, and they don't exercise enough. The health risks of obesity are serious. Being heavy raises the risk factors for cardiovascular disease--like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and abnormal glucose tolerance; and it raises the risk of type 2 diabetes--once seen only in adults.  Overweight kids are more likely to develop cancers, liver and gallblader disease, sleep apnea and other respiratory problems, stroke, osteoarthritis, and gynecological problems like irregular periods or infertility as they grow up.

The good news is, losing weight can be fun!  An average, 100 pound girl or boy can burn roughly:

  • 200 calories an hour walking or riding a bike
  • 250 calories an hour playing badminton or golf
  • 300 calories an hour playing tennis or dancing
  • 350 calories an hour playing basketball
  • 400 calories an hour swimming
  • 500 calories an hour running

And as other studies show, kids who run, swim, play ball or ride bikes are more likely to be happy.


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