Impact of Exercise on Body Fat Is Different for Boys and Girls
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The impact of exercise on body fat differs for boys and girls, suggests
research published in the British Journal of Sports
The impact of exercise on body fat differs for boys and girls, suggests research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Recommendations
on exercise to curb the rising tide of obesity in children have tended
to take a unisex approach, say the authors.The findings are based on a random sample of 224 children aged between 7 and 10 at 12 schools in the Republic of Ireland.
in five children was overweight, and 6% were obese, figures which are
significantly higher than those of other European countries, say the
- More boys than girls were obese.
fitness was measured in all the children, using a validated running
test, and the amount of exercise taken over a period of four days
assessed in 152.
- Boys exercised hard twice as often as girls. On
average, they spent more than an hour a day, exercising vigorously.
Girls spent just over half an hour a day.
- Running at 9 km per hour, or its equivalent, was classified as vigorous exercise.
all the children who scored well on measures of cardiorespiratory
fitness were significantly leaner and had smaller waists than those
whose fitness levels were poor.
- Waist size is important, say the
authors, because midrift fat is associated with certain metabolic
changes, which in turn are linked to poorer cardiovascular health.
tended to be more physically fit than the girls. But the amount of hard
exercise taken regularly had a direct impact only on the boys’ weight.
the girls, those boys who did the least hard exercise were the fattest.
And those who led a predominantly sedentary lifestyle had the thickest
The authors suggest that the current measure of body mass
index (BMI) may be inadequate, by itself, to determine the extent of
cardiovascular risk in children and adolescents.
Reference/Source: Relationship between the intensity of physical activity, inactivity,
cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition in 7-10 year old Dublin
children Online First Br J Sports Med 2007: doi: