Exercise the Key for Overweight Kids to Thin Down

Strength training and low energy diet are a good combination

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TUESDAY, May 21, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Obese kids need to pump it up to tone their weight down.

Strength training combined with a low energy diet is the best way to tackle childhood obesity, says a new study from the Chinese University in Hong Kong.

This approach is more effective than dieting alone in promoting much healthier cholesterol levels while still allowing children to gain height, says the study published in the June issue of the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The researchers put 82 children, ages 8-11, on a low energy diet that gave them a maximum of 1,200 kilocalories a day. Half the children also took part in a training program designed to strengthen their major muscle groups. They also did treadmill and aerobic dance exercise for variety and interest. Each session lasted 75 minutes, including warmup and cool down.

Over the six-week study. both groups grew significantly in height, but the training group lost a greater percentage of body fat. Their gain in lean body mass was more than twice that of the group on diet alone.

More information

This fact sheet from the office of the U.S. Surgeon General gives some good guidelines for confronting obesity in children and teenagers.

SOURCE: May 21, 2002, Archives of Disease in Childhood, news release, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

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