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New findings can help parents looking to combat number of kids' sick days

DECEMBER 3, 2003 (Bethesda, MD) How best to keep school aged children from getting sick? Some invoke the most famous parental warning of all: "Don't go outside with your hair wet or you'll catch pneumonia." Now, a new study offers additional strategies for combating the number of cold and flu symptom days among youngsters.

A report by Canadian researchers demonstrates that children who spent more time in sports activities and had higher aerobic fitness reported fewer "sick" days, and those with body fat higher than 25% reported significantly more such events. Their study also found evidence connecting reduced physical activity and excess body fat with higher incidences of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI).

A New Study

The investigation examines the relationships between mucosal immunity, physical fitness levels, stress levels, and relative body fat in 10- to 11-yr-old children attending public schools in Southern Ontario, Canada. Thomas J. Cieslak, Gail Frost, and Panagiota Klentrou from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, CN, are the authors of the study, entitled "Effects of Physical Activity, Body Fat, and Salivary Cortisol on Mucosal Immunity in Children." Their findings appear in the December 2003 edition of the Journal Applied of Physiology. The Journal is one of 14 scientific journals published each month by the American Physiological Society (APS).

Methodology

The researchers followed the protocol outlined below:

Subjects: Sixty-one fifth grade students (29 boys, 32 girls) from three randomly selected schools in Southwestern Ontario participated in the study, which was conducted in May and June. Any medication taken for treatment of illness was recorded.

Physical activity and fitness assessments: Predicted peak aerobic power was estimated and recorded. An estimate of each individual's peak O2 was
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Contact: Donna Krupa
djkrupa1@aol.com
703-527-7357
American Physiological Society
17-Dec-2003


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