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To understand childhood obesity, researchers look to inactive, fat rats

id the ethical conundrum involved in forcing active children to refrain from exercise, imposing biopsies and other tissue sampling techniques, or other parts of research that are possible in animals but not in humans. However, the authors note that animal research still has a long way to go. They suggest that future studies incorporating animal models of childhood obesity take place over longer periods to determine how inactivity during youth contributes to adult consequences of obesity and whether interventions, such as reintroducing exercise, can affect this trajectory. They also note that future studies should examine whether restricting exercise during childhood could affect future motivation to exercise in adulthood, something preliminary work in their lab and others' has suggested.

"Continuing to examine the effects of inactivity on physiological homeostasis during youth is crucial given that 58 percent of children between the ages of 6-11 fail to obtain the recommended 60 minutes per day of physical activity and 92 percent of adolescents fail to achieve this goal," the authors say. "Importantly we contend that using juvenile rodent inactivity models will continue to provide a powerful clinical translational tool that can be used for primordial prevention of human childhood obesity."


Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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