October 2012
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The Effects of Exercise Interventions in
High Risk Youth

Obese Child ImageAccording to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity in children has more than tripled over the last 30 years, and in 2008 more than 1/3 of American kids were considered overweight or obese.1,2 Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.  As they get older, obese adolescents are more likely to be pre-diabetic, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.  Children and adolescents who are obese are also more likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.3  With the rate of obesity increasing every year, it is important to get children to participate in exercise programs.
In a systematic review of the health benefits of physical activities on children and youth, measurements such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, insulin variables, and depression scores were examined.  The subjects in most of the studies were considered high risk, which included obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.  The interventions from each study were divided into either aerobic or mostly anaerobic in nature.  The anaerobic interventions included resistance training, circuit training, pilates, jumping exercises, and PE classes. For each of the measurements evaluated, there was a much higher percentage improvement in the interventions that used aerobic exercise.4
Based on these findings, resistance training and other exercises can be beneficial, but aerobic training appears to have a greater effect on improving health measures related to obesity and other similar conditions. One of the studies that showed significant improvement used only a total of 60 min/week of moderate to vigorous activity.  This may show that even a small increase in activity can improve the health of high risk children.
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Sleep DownUnder 2012, Oct. 10-13, Darwin, Australia
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European Youth Heart Study Scientific Symposium,  Oct. 22-26, Madeira, Portugal 
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International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health (ICPAPH), Oct. 31-Nov. 3, Sydney
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New study finds workplace stress is a risk factor for heart disease.

Nutritional Spotlight Header
Fish Oil ImageFish Oil

Fish oils are one of the most commonly used supplements in the United States. Taken by millions of people daily, fish oil contains high levels of omega-3's, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that has been widely touted for its heart health benefits. But according to a new meta-analysis study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, taking fish oil supplements had no measurable impact on the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, or premature death. This study examined 20 different studies with a total of almost 70,000 subjects, and through statistical analysis, they found that omega-3 fatty acids in the diet and in fish oils had no significant effect on risk reduction. 5 One of the limitations of this study is that it only examined 20 of the hundreds of studies conducted on the health effects of fish oils.

While fish oil supplements don’t appear to reduce the risk for heart disease, they have been shown to lower triglyceride levels and have been linked with reduced rates of certain cancers, particularly cancers of the breast, prostate and colon.6,7 With most fish oil supplements costing up to $40 a bottle, it may be better option to get your omega 3’s from  foods such as oily, cold water fish, walnuts, and flax seeds.  
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ActiTrainer ImageInterval vs. Continual Aerobic Training in Children

Aerobic exercise is a great way to increase aerobic capacity, burn calories and strengthen bones and muscles. Regular aerobic activity is just as important for children as it is for adults, however persuading a 10 year old to jog on a treadmill for 20 minutes a day may be easier said than done.  Therefore other modes of exercise that are more stimulating and equally beneficial may have a higher rate of adherence with children.

In a study of children aged 8 – 11 years old, subjects were randomly assigned to an intermittent-running group, a continuous-running group, or a control group. Both running groups trained 3 day/week, for 7 weeks.  Each child was tested for their peak VO2 and maximal aerobic capacity before and after the training program.  The intermittent group used short bursts of 5 – 15 seconds followed by recovery sequences of 30 seconds.  The continuous group used repeated sequences of 6 – 20 minutes. 

After 7 weeks, both groups showed significant improvements in peak VO2 and maximal aerobic velocity.  Using long-distance runs at a moderate pace can cause boredom in young children, therefore this shorter and varied interval training routine may be a way to use different modalities of exercise to increase the aerobic capacity of children.

1. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, Lamb MM, Flegal KM. Prevalence of high body mass index in US children and adolescents, 2007–2008. Journal of the American Medical Association 2010;303(3):242–249.
2. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2010: With Special Features on Death and Dying. Hyattsville, MD; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2011.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
4. Janssen I, LeBlanc AG. Systematic review of the health benefits of physical activity and fitness in school-aged children and youth.  International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.  2010. 7:40
5.  Augustsson, Katarina; Michaud, Dominique S.; Rimm, Eric B.; Leitzmann, Michael F.; Stampfer, Meir J.; Willett, Walter C.; Giovannucci, Edward (2003). "A Prospective Study of Intake of Fish and Marine Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer". Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology 12 (1): 64–7. PMID 12540506.
6.  De Deckere, E A M (1999). "Possible beneficial effect of fish and fish n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in breast and colorectal cancer". European Journal of Cancer Prevention 8 (3): 213–21.doi:10.1097/00008469-199906000-00009. PMID 10443950.
7. Baquet G, Gamelin F, Mucci P, Thevent D, Van Praagh E, Berthoin S. Continuous vs. Interval Aerobic Training in 8- to 11-Year-Old Children. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2010. 24(5): 1381.

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