The Importance of Youth Exercising

A recent study conducted with women from China shows that during adolescence, participating in a physical activity like team sports and exercise can offer life changing benefits for women. The study’s findings include data from 75,000 women from Shanghai, China and are published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention Journal. The findings are thought to reduce women’s risk of dying from cancer by 16 percent and other causes by 15 percent, as they get older.

Researchers for the study analyzed the amount of exercise the women got in their teens. They found that being active for just 1.3 hours a week positively impacted them as they aged. According to Sarah J. Nechuta, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, “The main finding is that exercise during adolescence is associated with a reduced risk of mortality, or death, in middle aged to older women.”

Even though these results are based on women in China, according to Nechuta they support a critical need to initiate early disease prevention, and the importance of exercise promotion among adolescence. “In general, there is no reason to believe that exercise participation would differ in the effect on women in general regardless of where they live,” Nechuta said.

Other important factors about the study include:

• Age – the women were 40 to 70 years old.
• They were recruited and interviewed from 1996 to 2000 about lifestyle factors and how much they exercised during their teens.
• 5,282 deaths occurred after an average of nearly 13 years of follow-up, including 2,375 deaths from cancer and 1,620 from cardiovascular disease.

Once the data was gathered and analyzed, it was adjusted for socioeconomic factors in adult life. Researchers then noticed that the women who exercised (type of exercise unknown) as teens and adults had a 20 percent lower risk of death from all causes compared to other women. Those playing team sports had a 10 percent lower risk of death from all causes also. “This is the first large prospective study among Asian women to look at adolescent exercise and mortality,” Nechuta said.

Article Credit: Reaney, Patricia (Editing by Baum, Bernadette). “Exercise during teens reaps long-term benefits for women, study shows.” Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/31/us-health-fitness-women-idUSKCN0Q51TL20150731, 31 July 2015. Web. 10 August 2015.

Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Obesity in Teenagers

unhappy overweight girl cryingThe teenage years are hard enough without facing them as an overweight teen. There are the obvious social and emotional difficulties that an overweight teen faces, but according to an article on www.heathlychildren.org, (“Obesity’s Impact on Teen Health”), there are some serious health issues to be concerned about as well.

The author claims that at least three of four obese teens will develop serious health problems as a result of their weight as they age; conditions such as degenerative arthritis, heart disease, stroke and several forms of cancer are not uncommon later in life. And morbidly obese teens are at risk for a number of health issues as teens, such as pancreatitis, hypertension, excessive insulin production, insulin resistant diabetes, and sleep apnea to name just a few.

Fortunately, the risk of many of these conditions can be eliminated by achieving a healthy weight (done in a healthy manner). A 10 percent weight loss can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, the emotional damage suffered is not as easily remedied. According to the author, “The pervasive societal prejudice against heavy people has been called one of the last acceptable forms of bigotry; in fact, several studies have shown striking similarities between the psychological characteristics of obese teenage girls and victims of racism.”

The author also quotes a Dr. Garry Sigman, director of the division of adolescent medicine at Advocate Lutheran General Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, as saying that overweight teens are much more likely to suffer a negative body image and low self-esteem. This may cause a social withdrawal, which can lead to the use of food as an emotional support, creating a vicious cycle.

Apparently, studies have shown that even well before the teen years (as early as age five), kids begin to form opinions of others based on their weight, and the idea that someone who’s overweight is bad or less desirable can take hold. This attitude can easily lead to taunts and ridicule directed at an overweight teen and bring on feelings of anxiety and depression so Dr. Sigman cautions parents to be aware of, and on the lookout for, symptoms of both.

Written by: Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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