Diet, not exercise, plays an important role in childhood obesity: study

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According to a recent study, it is diet change, not exercise, that plays a central role in increasing body fat in children.

The study, conducted by researchers at Baylor University, said that variation in consumption of foods bought in the market outside of the traditional diet, and not total calories burned daily, is significantly related to fat. bodily.

For the study, the researchers collected data on 43 rural school children and 34 peri-urban school children. The data was based on their diet and energy expenditure.

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The results of the study suggest that peri-urban children (65 percent on average) had more body fat than rural children, with more than a third of them classified as overweight compared to no rural children.

The report states that peri-urban children eat more than four times as many items purchased from the market as rural children.

Peri-urban children burn 108 fewer calories per day than rural children at rest. This is in part linked to lower immune activity levels of 16 to 47 percent.

Notably, measures of market integration, immune activity, and physical activity have no detectable impact on children’s overall energy expenditure, with peri-urban and rural children spending roughly the same number of calories. . The two cohorts demonstrated similar levels of physical activity.

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Variation in consumption of market foods, but not in daily energy expenditure, is linked to children’s body fat, the study noted.

Lead author Samuel Urlacher, assistant professor of anthropology at Baylor University, said: “Our findings are consistent with a growing body of research indicating that a poor diet is the most important factor underlying development. childhood obesity. ”

Researchers have said that exercise is absolutely essential for healthy living. But diet increasingly appears to be directly linked to long-term energy balance.

The results were published in The Journal of Nutrition.

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