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Children need 60 minutes of daily physical activity, expert panel says

ity and Adolescent and School Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We were asked to review the literature and find evidence of the impact of physical activity on the health and well-being of children and to make recommendations based on the evidence, not just on what we all believe to be beneficial," says Dr. Strong, Charbonnier Professor Emeritus at MCG and founding director of MCG's Georgia Prevention Institute, where researchers are exploring issues such as the impact of activity on children's weight and cardiovascular health.

The hope is that the evidence-based recommendations will be taken to heart by children, parents and schools as well as an elite list of organizations that impact children's health, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Representatives of those groups attended the January 2004 meeting of the expert panel. Panelists reviewed more than 850 articles and 1,200 abstracts looking at the impact of physical activity on a wide range of health factors from body fat to lipid levels to how children perceive themselves.

Most of the studies in the literature had children performing 30 to 45 minutes of continuous moderate to vigorous physical activity three to five days per week. To achieve similar or greater benefits in the context of typically intermittent, ordinary daily activities would require a cumulative time of an hour or more, the experts write.

Jumping rope, soccer, basketball, and brisk walking are all examples of moderate to vigorous physical activity, Dr. Strong says, noting that sedentary children need to increase activity gradually. "Youngsters tend to get bored easily so they have to have variety," says Dr. Malina, who has doctoral degrees in both physical education and anthropolog
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
13-Jun-2005


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