Diet or Exercise: Pick One to Curb Childhood Obesity?

What's the best way to attack the worldwide epidemic of childhood obesity? An editorial in the newest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says ramping up your child's daily activities -- getting them off the couch and being active -- certainly can't hurt. Addressing the problem by attacking just one area, however, is often fruitless and unsuccessful.

Addressing physical activity, or the lack of it, appears promising, according to the editorial, because many studies show how much of a sedentary society we've become. In fact, physical activity levels decrease as children become older and girls moreso than boys.

This editorial indeed speaks to my Total Health Program in that the obesity epidemic is a multi-faceted problem. In other words, improving just one aspect of your health will not completely do the trick. For example, the author readily admits physical activity is not likely to counteract a poor diet, particularly when a child eats one or many meals at the nearest fast-food restaurant every week.

The last quote was particularly reassuring: It appears that many small changes, rather than one overall solution, will be needed if we are to change our aggregate march to higher BMI (body mass index) values.

For the record, following all of these key factors will help to safeguard your children from becoming another statistic -- and eventually a fatality -- in the ongoing war against obesity:

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 81, No. 2, 337-338, February 2005 (free full text article)

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