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Exercise improves thinking, reduces diabetes risk in overweight children
Date:10/22/2007

s children are impacting health, including dramatic increases in the incidence of type 2 diabetes, a disease formerly known as adult-onset diabetes. Overweight children also have slightly lower school achievement, on average.

We hope these findings will help persuade policymakers, schools and communities that time spent being physically active enhances, rather than detracts, from learning, says Dr. Davis.

There have been several studies that have shown that exercise produces kind of a selective effect, particularly with older adults, in cognitive tasks that require regulation of behaviors, says Dr. Phillip D. Tomporowski, experimental psychologist at the University of Georgia and a key collaborator.

For this study, researchers gave the children tests that look at their decision-making processes. In the first such studies in children, the researchers found small to moderate improvements in children who exercised as well as a hint of increased math achievement.

We have a number of studies conducted with animals that examined what influence physical activity has on blood flow, metabolic activity, brain function, glucose regulation, and they all demonstrate the same theme: that physical activity done on a regular basis has a protective effect, says Dr. Tomporowski. It doesnt take too much to make the leap that it might influence developing children as well.

Looking at the childrens insulin resistance, a precursor of type 2 diabetes in which it takes more insulin to convert glucose into energy, researchers found levels dropped 15 percent in the 20-minute exercise group and 21 percent in the 40-minute group. The control group stayed about the same.

Increasing volume of regular aerobic exercise shows increased benefits on insulin resistance in overweight children, indicating reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, regardless of sex or race, they write.

We also know that if you stop exercising, you lose all the b
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

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