Wednesday, July 02, 2008

It Ain't About Gym Class

If figuratively beating a dead horse actually counted as exercise I'd likely be one of the fittest guys in the world.

Here's yet another story on gym class and how the school based energy-out component of pediatric obesity is not in fact particularly important.

The story's about Dr. Kevin Harris, a pediatric resident at B.C. Children's Hospital who presented his findings on gym class' ability to change BMI. Dr. Harris and his fellow researchers looked at 13 trials of 6 months to 3 years duration involving over 10,000 children.

His quote says it all:

"Phys-ed and physical activity are tremendously important but this research shows phys-ed doesn't change BMI. So while the overall health benefits are established, phys-ed shouldn't be looked at as a central component of any obesity strategy"
Hmmm, if energy-out interventions don't help, what else could we try?

Do you think that maybe, just maybe, it's time to look at the energy-in?

UPDATE: Kevin's work has now been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Click here to read his study.

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  1. Personally, I don't think that the point of gym class to get kids to lose weight. Anyone who thinks that is kidding themselves. Gym is meant to get kids moving, get them to realize that moving is fun, and to expend some pent up energy too.

  2. I can't agree with the doc more on this issue. Gym class isn't and shouldn't be a weight loss program. But if kids are continuously improperly fueling their bodies the energy in is higher than out.

    Parents are the ones needing the education here. You touched on it in your last post about hectic lives. With everyone running around, less and less parents cook anymore. Lunches consist of processed, pre packaged nightmares.

    Energy in and parents committing to a healthier lifestyle for all are two most important factors in childhood obesity changing in North America. Without those to factors it is going to be long hard road, one I like to refer to as pushing a wet noodle up hill.

    Changing how people think about food is integral to curbing obesity. When you think about food as fuel it changes the perspective drastically.