Lifestyle Changes Reduce Kids’ Cardiometabolic Risks
Previous reviews of studies on the benefits of exercise in children focused largely on weight changes, according to Mandy Ho, MSc, RN, from the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Australia. In their recent study, Ho and his team investigated the effects of exercise on the cardiometabolic risks of children and adolescents. They conducted the first systematic review of studies on lifestyle interventions in overweight and obese children and reported their findings in the Pediatrics journal.
The review included 38 studies on children aged 18 years and below, which compared the effectiveness of lifestyle intervention programs containing a dietary component with that of no treatment, usual care, or minimal advice. Among the studies comparing lifestyle interventions to no treatment, the authors noted significant weight loss (based on body mass index or BMI) among those who practiced the lifestyle interventions. This finding was also true in studies comparing lifestyle interventions with usual care or minimal intervention.
In addition to weight loss, lifestyle interventions were also found to be associated with improvement in cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They were also linked to reduced fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance. Blood pressure levels also improved. These factors are noted to increase one’s risk for metabolic as well as cardiovascular disease, and their findings demonstrate that these are reduced up to one year in children who received lifestyle interventions.
The authors believe that scientific evidence shows that dietary interventions, along with exercise and/or behavioral modifications are important in treating not only childhood obesity but also in reducing their risk for cardiometabolic diseases. They add that further studies are needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of these interventions, the optimal length and intensity of the programs, and magnitude of weight reduction needed to produce significant benefits.
Barber, J. Cardiometabolic Improvement From Lifestyle Change Seen in Kids. Medscape.