Obesity: less risk for children walking to school

Obesity: less risk for children walking to school
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Go to school on foot or by bikeas well as being an ecological choice, it helps young people to prevent any obesity problems. This is suggested by an English study conducted by researchers from the University of Cambridge and published in the journal BMC Public Health.

According to the intersection of the data collected on a heterogeneous sample of over 2000 students of primary schools from London and its surroundings, in fact, the simple activity of going to class without the aid of cars or public transport has proved to be a decisive indicator is preferably used for prevention of the occurrence of cases of obesity or severe overweight.

A new meter

Normally the most used indicator of obesity is the body mass index (BMI index in English). In this research, however, the scholars wanted to adopt a different approach, estimating the amount of fat and muscle of a given subject and placing it in relation with the amount of physical work done.

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This physical movement was then "unhooked" from the hours of physical education spent at school - which are more or less identical for each pupil -, to be then divided into two types: frequency in sporting activity and movement carried out daily for get to school.

The choice to change the measurement method was dictated by the fact that the body mass index represents a data too limited, as the "healthy" muscle mass is also included in the calculation of mass.

Surprising data

Thanks to this new perspective, the British researchers were able to analyze the data collected between 2022 and 2022 by University College London during the Size and Lung Function in Children (SLIC) study and draw interesting conclusions.

In fact, among the more than 2000 children taken into consideration with their habits and physical characteristics, almost half it turned out to be quite active, with at least one sport practiced regularly. Of these, a substantial part also used to go to school on foot or by bicycle.


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It was thus possible to ascertain how the subjects who they chose their own legs as a "means of transport" they had on average a lower fat mass and a low probability of becoming obese.

Where is the news then? In the fact that, paradoxically, according to the canonical criteria based on the body mass index, the same boys would have turned out those most prone to weight gain! On the other hand, those who practice sports and move a lot have more mass, but also more muscles.

«The connection between frequent participation in a sporting activity and the levels of obesity has generated unpredictable results in previous research, but they only looked at body mass index, ”explained Lander Bosch, one of the main signatures of the study. “However, by focusing only on body fat, we were able to show a trend that infants who were not very active were more prone to weight gain, if not obesity. It is likely that if we had stopped at the BMI index, some "inactive" children would not have been classified as "obese" because lacking muscle mass».

  • children at school
  • childhood obesity
  • weight
  • 1-2 children years
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