Study Challenges Link Between Childhood Obesity, Exercise
By Mike Boyle

Think you know the key to battling childhood obesity? You may be surprised that the answer has more to do with nutrition than exercise.

According to the recently released findings of the 11-year EarlyBird Diabetes Study of more than 200 British children – conducted at the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, UK - physical activity had no impact on weight change but weight clearly led to less physical activity. Obesity is the key factor behind diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr. David Haslam from the National Obesity Forum says that while this study indicates good nutrition habits, and not exercise, are the key to battling obesity in children, the wider health benefits of exercise for children must not be overlooked.

"The EarlyBird team really force us to question our comfortable assumptions regarding childhood obesity," Haslam said. "What we, as clinicians must do, is nod reverently at their work, learn lessons from it, and re-appraise our own practices accordingly."

He added, "What we shouldn`t do is take the paper at face value and allow lean children to be as lazy as they please, as that would be a catastrophic mistake!"

The EarlyBird study`s findings were recently published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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Originally posted July 9, 2010.