A new study in medico-mag The Lancet reports that modern toddlers are more sedentary than popularly believed and risk becoming obese through lack of exercise. Too much TV and too little vigorous outdoor play could lead to health problems in later life, warn article authors.

Tots need bikes

Total energy expenditure and physical activity in young Scottish children: mixed longitudinal study

J J Reilly, D M Jackson, C Montgomery, L A Kelly, C Slater, S Grant, J Y Paton Childhood obesity has been attributed to a decline in total energy expenditure (TEE). We measured TEE, physical activity, and sedentary behaviour in a representative sample of young children from Glasgow, UK, at age 3 years (n=78), and we did a follow-up study at age 5 years (n=72). Mean physical activity level (TEE/resting energy expenditure) was 1·56 (SD 0·39) at age 3 years and 1·61 (0·22) at age 5 years. Median time in sedentary behaviour was 79% of monitored hours at age 3 years (IQR 74-84) and 76% (71-80) at age 5 years. Median time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity represented only 2% of monitored hours at age 3 years (IQR 1-4) and 4% at age 5 years (2-6). Modern British children establish a sedentary lifestyle at an early age.

University of Glasgow Division of Developmental Medicine, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow G3 8SJ, UK (J J Reilly PhD, C Montgomery PhD, L A Kelly BSc, C Slater MPhil, J Y Paton FRCPCH); Division of Energy Balance and Obesity, Rowett Research Institute, Greenburn Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, UK (D M Jackson PhD); and University of Glasgow Faculty of Biological and Life Sciences, West Medical Building, Glasgow, UK (S Grant PhD)


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