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Promoting exercise for children

Physical activity has many vital benefits for our bodies. It is significant with regard to health, and can also help to reduce the risk of the onset of chronic diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, high blood lipids, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Exercise and physical activity is important even for children and adolescents. It can also help to lower the risk of colon cancer, increase bone density, develop physical fitness, promote weight control, and also to reduce anxiety. 


Obesity and exercise in children

Obesity is becoming extremely widespread in children in the modern world. In children, obesity is considered to occur when the child is more than twenty per cent over the recommended weight for that child's height. Obesity is also considered to occur when a child is in the eighty-fifth percentile of the Body Mass Index. This is calculated by dividing weight in kilos by height in meters squared. Twenty five to thirty per cent body fat is considered obese with regard to children.

About eleven per cent of six to eleven year olds are considered to be obese, while fourteen per cent of twelve to seventeen year olds fall into the same category. These figures are more than double those of thirty years ago. This is particularly worrying considering that body weight and obesity in children can be significant factors when it comes to the development of cardiovascular disease and other related problems. Further to this, obese children often experience social exclusion and low self esteem. Abdominal fat is particularly risky when it comes to the development of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
 
Those who undertake physical exercise are less likely to deposit fat in this area of the body. Thus, physical exercise and activity is vital when it comes to avoiding problems such as this. 

The most beneficial exercise is that which is planned. Experts advise the undertaking of a specified exercise regime that is aimed at reducing fat on this area. Low to moderately intense activity is recommended with this in mind. Vigorous activity can lead to problems with the musculoskeletal system, as well as heart attack during exercise. Moderate activity is also more likely to mean a continued adherence to a given exercise regime. It is advised that both children and adults should aim to undertake about half an hour of exercise each day.
 
Another approach would be to undertake shorter five to minute bursts of exercise each day, in place of the longer thirty minute session.

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