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Lack of exercise key to increased BMI in children
Date:5/26/2010

A new independent study of scientific research has revealed that, contrary to the widely held hypothesis, dietary sugars are not the driving factor behind rising body mass index (BMI) levels in children in Great Britain.

The research paper, 'Trends in energy and sugar intakes and body mass index between 1983 and 1997 among children in Great Britain', which was conducted by independent consultant nutritionist Sigrid Gibson MA MSc RPHNutr, highlights that increased BMIs recorded in children are most likely due to reduced energy expenditure, rather than dietary factors, reinforcing the link between obesity and lack of physical exercise.

The paper directly compared findings from two separate studies: 'The Diets of British Schoolchildren' conducted by the Department of health (DH) in 1983 (Department of Health 1989); and the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) from 1997 (Gregory & Lowe, 2000).

Gibson's analysis found that total sugar intake averaged at 115g/day in 1983, compared with 113g/day in 1997. Allowing for exclusions of low and high energy reporters, intake levels were 122g/day (1983) and 127g/day (1997), showing a marginal and insignificant increase over the study period. Contrastingly, mean body weight increased significantly during the period of the DH and NDNS surveys, showing a rise of 1.9kg for 10-11 year olds and 3.4kg among 14-15 year olds. BMI increased from 17.9 to 18.6 units in the younger group, and 20.2 to 21.3 units in the older group. According to these calculations, the prevalence of being overweight (plus obesity), as defined by the International Obesity Taskforce (IOTF) cut-offs (91st percentile) rose from 13% to 21-22% between surveys. Gibson concluded that the slight increase in consumption of total sugars did not account for the significant increase in BMI, equivalent to 2-3 kg over the review period.

During the same period, Gibson found that mean energy intake (EI) was 3% lower in 1997 th
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Contact: Alison Taylor
alison.taylor@war.uk.com
44-777-592-5452
The Sugar Bureau
Source:Eurekalert

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