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Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids

After-school aerobics helped youngsters feel better mentally, physically, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight kids may be able to work out their anger with exercise, a new report finds.

A study of sedentary but otherwise healthy 7- to 11-year-olds found they reduced both their weight and anger issues by taking part in a 10- to 15-week after-school aerobic exercise program. The finding applied to children across lines such as race, gender and socioeconomic status, as well as regardless of how fit or overweight the kids were.

"Exercise had a significant impact on anger expression in children," researcher Catherine Davis, a clinical health psychologist with the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine, said in a news release issued by the school. "This finding indicates that aerobic exercise may be an effective strategy to help overweight kids reduce anger expression and aggressive behavior."

Previous research had shown that exercise helps cut down on depression and anxiety in children, she said, noting that most people believe that exercise also helps adults manage anger.

"I think if teachers could see that exercise helps kids control their behavior and get along, they would be the top proponents of physical activity for kids," Davis said.

The study was published in the November issue of Pediatric Exercise Science.

More information

There's more on helping kids cope with anger at the Nemours Foundation.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Medical College of Georgia, news release, Nov. 24, 2008

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