Posts tagged obesity
Research Documents Strong Children Are More Likely To Become Fit Adults

In America we face a energy crisis where the CDC reports 1 in 3 adults and shockingly 1 in 5 kids are obese. The imbalance between caloric intake and caloric expenditure has literally tipped the scales and created an growing obesity problem. In Colorado we have seen our blue state (low levels of obesity) turn pink due to an increase in obesity especially among children. Aerobic and resistance training has been found to be both both safe and effective in children and teenagers leading to improvements in mental, emotional, and physical health. A recent review of the medical literature documents the impact of childhood and adolescent fitness on their transition to adulthood.

In the journal Sports Medicine Garcia-Hermoso and colleagues analyzed the available research to determine the association between muscular fitness in childhood and future health (2019). Authors included 30 studies on a total of 21,686 participants between 3 and 18 years old. As expected they reported a significant, moderate to large effect between baseline muscular fitness and future body mass index, fat mass, metabolic blood levels, and cardiovascular status as adults. In short, fit children and adolescents became fit adults. Embracing the American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine campaign, especially in children, may help our country regain the energy balance they need to live their best life.

America's Energy Crisis and Today's Physical Therapist

The CDC reports 40% of American adults can be classified as obese.  These individuals are at a significantly higher risk of chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.  Experts estimate medical costs for obesity and these chronic conditions tops 147 billion dollars each year.  Researchers estimate this added weight contributes to up to 4 million deaths per year.  In comparison, opiod overdoses killed approximately 42,000 Americans last year.  All healthcare providers, including Physical Therapists, must work to to slow and try to eventually reverse our country's course toward further obesity.  

In the Physical Therapy profession debates rage on social media and our professional conferences regarding the best intervention or exercise for a given condition or patient.  The pendulum swings around pain neuroscience education, dry needling, exercise, and manipulation.  Dogmatic groups often form around their proven technique, but given this energy crisis, one could argue a daily walking program may be the most important exercise prescription we can provide patients.  The benefits of daily aerobic exercise are widespread and have been shown to reduce an individual's risk of dozens of diseases and conditions.   Encouraging positive behaviors and removing activity barriers for every patient may help us reduce our country's true energy crisis.