Activity Level is More Important than Caloric Intake to Prevent Childhood Obesity

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A recent study of 13,000 young people found that on the average, obese teens consumer fewer calories than their slim friends. According to Dr. Michael Omidi and his brother Julian Omidi and their non-profit The Children’s Obesity Fund this finding underscores the importance of an active lifestyle.

Research recently published in U.S. News and World Report suggests that caloric intake plays a less significant factor in obesity than activity levels. The authors of the study hypothesize that the thinner children all participate in regular sessions of exercise, thereby increasing their energy expenditures. The overweight and obese subjects were more sedentary. Originally published in the Journal of Pediatrics, researchers studied the dietary habits of approximately 13,000 children from the ages of 1-17 years between 2001 and 2008.

“We cannot stress the importance of healthy eating enough, certainly,” says Dr. Michael Omidi, co-founder of the charity The Children’s Obesity Fund. “However, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the lack of physical exercise in children is the main culprit in the startling rise of childhood obesity, heart disease, diabetes and all other types of preventable medical conditions. We’ve seen studies of the Amish population, which suggest that kids and adults living in communities where high-calorie foods are regularly consumed but physical activity is a part of their daily rituals, do not have the same incidences of obesity and obesity related illnesses as the rest of the population.”

While obese children under the age of nine tended to eat more calories than their slimmer counterparts, it was found that, as overweight children age – around the time they enter puberty – their bodies tended to want to hang on to the excess weight, causing them to remain obese despite caloric restrictions.

The study reported that between the ages of three to five years, overweight girls tended to consume an average of 1,720 calories per day, whereas normal-weight girls consumed an average of 1,580. Overweight boys in the same age range consumed an average of 1,810 calories per day while normal weight boys consumed 1,670. However, as the children aged into their pre-teen and teenage years, the dynamic shifted. Overweight girls between the ages of 12-14 consumed an average of 1,794 calories, while normal-weight girls consumed an average of 1,893. Overweight teen age boys consumed an average of 2,209 calories, while normal-weight teen age boys consumed an average of 2,291.

Co-founded by Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, M.D., the Children’s Obesity Fund (http://www.childrensobesityfund.org) hopes to help reverse the trend of rising obesity rates in America. The goal of the non-profit charity is to help people fully understand the obesity issue and its dire impacts on individuals and society as a whole -- and to use that knowledge to encourage children to grow up strong and healthy. Children’s Obesity Fund partners with other organizations to educate and support parents, educators and others so that we can all work together to raise healthy, active, social, and happy children. While the organization does not accept donations, it does encourage direct contributions of money and talents to the associations featured on our website. Children’s Obesity Fund is on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Childrens-Obesity-Fund/264244577009536?fref=ts and can also be found on Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.

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