Many kids not getting enough intense exercise: study

Edmonton, Alberta – Children need at least seven minutes a day of vigorous physical activity to help avoid the health consequences of weight gain, but many do not reach that level, according to a study from the University of Alberta.

Researchers tracked the physical activity level, weight, waist circumference and blood pressure of 605 children 9 to 17 years old, the study abstract stated. Most of their time – 70 percent – was spent being sedentary; the rest broke down to roughly 23 percent of time doing light physical activity, 7 percent doing moderate activity and 0.6 percent performing vigorous activity, according to a university press release.

However, researchers found seven minutes of intense exercise per day was associated with reduced risk of being overweight, and kids who exceeded that amount had greater health benefits. More vigorous activity was associated with less likelihood of being overweight, and overweight kids who increased their vigorous exercise time saw an increase in fitness and a decrease in their waistline, they said.

The study was published online Nov. 1 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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