Overweight,Obesity,Summer vacation,Body mass index,Kindergarten

Parents, summer is when kids are likely to add on pounds

December 31, 2016
in Kids

Children are more likely to become overweight or obese during summer vacation than during the school year, a U.S. study suggests. The national study of more than 18,000 school children found that from the autumn start of kindergarten to the spring semester of second grade, the prevalence of obesity increased from 8.9 to 11.5 percent. During that same period, the proportion of overweight kids climbed from 23.3 to 28.7 percent. None of these gains in numbers of obese or overweight kids happened during the school year, however. All of the increases in what's known as body mass index—a measure of weight relative to height—occurred during summer vacations. "The structured nature of the school day, with its scheduled exercise periods and limited opportunities to eat, helps students maintain a healthy BMI," said study co-author Paul von Hippel, a health policy researcher at the University of Texas, Austin. "By contrast, we speculate that many non-school environments are relatively unstructured and unsupervised, allowing children to indulge in sedentary activities and excessive snacking," von Hippel added by email. To assess the influence of school attendance on child obesity, researchers examined data on kids' height and weight at the beginning and end of each academic year from the fall of 2010 until the spring of 2013. At the start of kindergarten, 23 percent...

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