Physical exercise, the perfect ally to fight against childhood obesity

Gregorio Bermudo

15 November, 2019

Childhood obesity is currently one of the main health concerns in societies in developed countries. There are many actors that have set themselves the challenge of reducing the number of children with obesity. Physical exercise has become one of the key ingredients to fight this disease.

On November 12 Tuesdays, World Obesity Day is celebrated, with the aim of raising awareness, preventing and controlling overweight and obesity.
According to WHO, 223 million school-age children are overweight. If the current trend is maintained, the figure can reach 268 million in the 2025 year. The good news is that in Catalonia the prevalence of excess weight has stabilized. Despite this good news, reality is still alarming. This epidemic is still present and remains the main threat to the health of our children. Public administrations, families, sports centers ... we all have to continue working to consolidate this trend and, in particular, we must strengthen and stimulate much healthier habits.
Environmental factors are largely affected by the spread of the problem, the genetic load is important but the parasitic and sedentary lifestyle that carries the reins of our lives means a systematic attack on children's health. Fortunately, this is reversible and, therefore, depends on the level of awareness of the family and the will of the child to reconvert their situation.
The keys to avoiding obesity in children
In this sense there is not much secret. To start having control of the problem, you need to regulate caloric intake and combine it with a higher energy expenditure. Both elements have to be applied already in a previous stage in which a blatant overweight of the child can be detected. If we have reached this point it is because in the previous phase there has been a lack of control over some of the elements mentioned.
Physical exercise
An active and healthy lifestyle in which physical activity plays a preponderant role is the best protection against this disease. Thousands of studies show that only with a moderate activity performed three or four days a week the improvement is evident regardless of the individual body composition. The decrease in body fat does not require great efforts, but with a lot of consistency and ability to work.
In this definition we group simple activities, always located in aerobic limits. That is to say, with an average intensity in any case bearable for the child. Even we could include the training of some sports discipline under strict guardianship to simultaneously promote the bony and muscular structure. Crashing, falling, jumping ... sharing training with other colleagues diminishes the abandonment options and increases the chances of enjoying the movement.
These premises are very similar to the general recommendations for the entire child population. The background, on the other hand, is totally different and it is expressed in two points:
It is vital to be aware that the ultimate goal is to lay the foundations for a more active and healthy life. Therefore, the message we deliver should be taken care of in detail.
The approach to effort will always be gradual and progressive.
In short, the consideration of these recommendations is more important than the exercise itself, it is more important to become aware of how we can prevent the manifestation of the movement that we welcome.

the author

Gregorio Bermudo

Sant Joan Despí sports management director

Bachelor's Degree in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences and Master's Degree in Economic Management of Sports Entities (UB)

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