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Biking to School Boosts Kids' Fitness

Foot- or pedal-power brings results, study finds

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- New British research suggests that kids -- especially girls -- who ride bicycles to school are in better shape than those who walk and take buses or cars.

The authors of the study examined the results of physical tests and questionnaires given to 6,000 children, ages 10 to 16, from eastern England in 2007 and 2008.

They found that boys who walked to school were 20 percent more likely to be fit than were those who rode in buses, cars and other kinds of motorized transport. Girls who walked were 30 percent more likely to be fit.

Riding a bike to school proved even better. For boys, it boosted their likelihood of being fit by 30 percent, and girls increased theirs sevenfold.

Kids who were driven to school had the lowest levels of physical fitness.

"Children need to be active and stay fit in order to stay healthy," study co-author Christine Voss said in a news release from the American College of Sports Medicine. "Encouraging them to walk or cycle to school is one great opportunity to help achieve this."

The study is in the February issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more on kids and exercise.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American College of Sports Medicine, news release, Jan. 27, 2010

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