November 9th 2011 Not putting the clocks back would help in the fight against child obesity, a study suggests. According to research, children are more influenced by daylight than the weather when deciding whether or not to play outside. UK researchers report that not changing the clocks would give more opportunities for active play. It strengthens the public health arguments for proposed changes to daylight saving, they say. The research, published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, studied the activity levels of 325 children in south-east England aged between eight and 11. The children wore accelerometers to record the amount of exercise they did, and kept a record of their activities in a diary. A team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London found the children did more exercise outside on longer days, particularly at the end of the day during summer. “Start Quote This provides the most direct evidence yet that changing the clocks so that there is more daylight in the afternoon could increase children's physical activity” End Quote This happened regardless of the likes of rain, cloud or wind. Outdoor play was a bigger factor in overall physical activity than other factors such as structured sport sessions and cycling or walking to school, the team says. Co-researcher Dr Anna Goodman, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the BBC: "This provides the most direct evidence yet that changing the clocks so that there is more daylight in the afternoon could increase children's physical activity." She added: "The fact that kids spend more time playing outdoors and are more physically active overall on these longer days could be important at a population level for promoting their fitness and in preventing child obesity. "This strengthens the public health argument for the Daylight Saving Bill currently under consideration by the House of Commons, which proposes putting the clocks forward by an extra hour all year round." The clocks were moved forward by an hour during World War II to increase productivity at munitions factories and help people get home safely before the blackout. But some health experts argue that a change to this tradition would give children more opportunities for outdoor play, as well as making it safer for them to travel home from school. 'Safe space' Tam Fry, a spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum, said: "The longer the daylight hours, the longer kids will play. They really don't seem to care much about the weather but they do care about the dark. "They need clearly to see the environment in which they can roam unfettered, and it should be no surprise that longer summer evenings provide that environment. "They will be healthier and fitter from their outdoor play. Pack them all off to a safe space until bedtime." Ministers are writing to counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to seek a UK-wide consensus on a trial. It would see the UK adopt Central European Time, with BST plus one hour in summer and GMT plus one in winter. Original Page: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15646812 Shared from Read It Later
Babies who grow too fast have a much higher risk of becoming obese, a study indicates. (Los Angeles Times)
Researchers looked at the weight-for-length charts that show how a baby's weight compares to that of other babies of the same length. For example, babies on the 5th percentile growth line have a weight that puts them among the smallest 5% of all babies their length. Doctors mostly want to see that a child is following his or her growth curve over time and not falling off or jumping up. The major percentile lines are the 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th and 95th.
The study, which tracked more than 44,000 babies, found that those who rose two or more major percentiles -- for example, going from 50% to 90% at some point -- before age 2 were twice as likely to be obese at age 5 and 75% more likely to be obese at age 10.
Babies who jumped two or more percentiles before six months of age had the highest risk of obesity at age 10 as well as babies who were already in a high percentile at their first visit. For example a 6-month-old baby who started at the 75th percentile who jumped two or more percentiles in the next six months had an obesity prevalence of almost 30% at age 5. Babies who started at less than the 25th percentile and jumped two or more percentiles had an obesity prevalence at age 5 of about 7%.
"We shouldn't neglect these early gains and think that it's just baby fat, and that these children are going to grow out of it," said Dr. Elsie Taveras, the lead author of the study at Children's Hospital Boston.
Of all the babies in the study, 11.6% were obese at age 5 and 16% at age 10. Jumping two or more percentiles was common, the researchers found, with 43% rising two or more percentiles in their first six months of life and 64% at some point in their first two years.
The study was published Monday in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. The journal also carries an interesting commentary on child obesity by Dr. Robert C. Whitaker of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University.
Whitaker discusses the widespread social change that will be required to reverse the obesity epidemic. "The childhood obesity epidemic was an unexpected consequence of numerous well-intentioned decisions made by adults about how to improve our way of living. These decisions were often made without considering children or all aspects of their well-being," he writes.
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