The children and teenagers in US seem to have become more health conscious as a new study suggests a remarkable improvement in weight-related behaviours in the nation’s youth.
According to the study, the U.S. kids and teenagers have started getting slightly more exercise besides engaging into physical activity and reduced their hours of watching television.
Between 2001 and 2009, U.S. adolescents increased physical activity, ate more fruits and vegetables, ate breakfast more, watched less TV and ate fewer sweets, says Ronald Iannotti, chairman of the department of exercise and health sciences at the University of Massachusetts in Boston and co-author of the study in October’s Pediatrics.
The researchers carried survey in middle and high schools and found increase in the number of days youth reported having breakfast each week and in how often they ate fruits and vegetables. Those trends have corresponded to a leveling off in obesity rates, but not a decline, the study showed.
Researchers analyzed data from a sample of 35,000 kids ages 11 to 16, collected in 2001, 2005 and 2009.
The diet, physical activity, height and weight of the kids were recorded and using them body mass index of all the samples was calculated. The average BMI increased over the nine years but declined between 2005 and 2009, from 62.33 to 62.07 (both in the normal range). Statistically, there was no change, Iannotti says, but where “we had been seeing an increasing trend, we don’t see that between 2005 and 2009.”
In the study, most adolescents fell far short of the recommended 60-plus minutes a day of physical activity seven days a week, but the number of days they got that amount increased significantly between 2001 and 2009, from 4.33 to 4.53.
Consumption of fruits increased from an average of two to four days a week in 2001 to five or six in 2009; vegetables from an average of two to four days a week to almost five. Sugary soft drink consumption declined from almost five drinks a day to about four. The average number of days a week they ate breakfast increased from 2.98 to 3.25.