Is a Lack of Exercise to Blame for Childhood Obesity? Not Likely Says Study

Childhood obesity has been a hot topic for a few years now. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. On top of that statistic, the percentage of children aged 6—11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010.

A new study was just published in the April edition of PLoS One which looked at children between the ages of 3 and 6. The researchers lookd looked at the link between a child’s weight, their activity level and other factors including media consumption and socioeconomic standing. Physical activity levels were measured in 119 children using a the SensewearPro® accelerometer. In the 92 children who wore the device for at least 4 days plus one weekend, they compiled some interesting information.

  • Is Lack of Exercise to Blame? 1 of 6

    New study shows some interesting data on what may really cause overweight kids.

  • Average Daily 2 of 6

    The study showed that the participants, on average had 4.3 hours daily of physical activity.

  • Boys vs Girls 3 of 6

    The boys in the study spent an average 52 more minutes per week being very active verses the girls. 

  • Weekday vs Weekend 4 of 6

    Physical activity was lower during the weekend with 3.7 hours daily verses the weekdays which on average 4.5 hours were spent being physically active. 

  • Overweight vs Normal Weight 5 of 6

    Physical activity levels did not differ between overweight/obese kids and their normal-weight peers.

  • Media’s Role? 6 of 6

    Media consumption increased with decreasing social class on weekdays and during the weekend for participants in the study.


The study concluded that the weight status of children aged 3-6 was considerably more influenced by socioeconomic factors. Since the children in the study who were considered obese or overweight did not do less activity than their normal-weight peers, this did not seem to play as big of a role in childhood obesity as previously thought.

Photo credits: iStockPhoto

Source: Physical Activity in 3-6 Year Old Children Measured by SenseWear Pro®: Direct Accelerometry in the Course of the Week and Relation to Weight Status, Media Consumption, and Socioeconomic Factors. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e60619. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060619. Epub 2013 Apr 3.


Article Posted 3 years Ago

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