In findings welcomed by the Australian sporting goods and active lifestyle industries, the Lifestyle of our Kids (LOOK) study by the Australian National University found exercise is more important than diet when it comes to determining a child’s weight.
Executive Director of the Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA), Shannon Walker, said “This research shows that tackling obesity has less to do with the food they eat and more to do with getting our kids outside and active.”
Obviously a good diet is important, but as lead researcher in the study, Professor Richard Telford from the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment and the Clinical Trials Unit at The Canberra Hospital, said:
“General community strategies involving dietary intake and physical activity to combat childhood obesity may benefit by making physical activity the foremost focus of attention.”
“The findings validate ASGA’s vision to Get Australians moving again. We need to do something now, because if we fail to act, by 2025 80 per cent of Australian adults and a third of our kids will be overweight or obese (Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute 2011),” Mr Walker said.
This research provides very strong evidence about how to best tackle obesity. And the great news is that kids who are already overweight will benefit from exercise. The study found that:
“… if a child became more active during the four years (of the study) he or she became leaner. Alternatively, a child who became less active increased his or her body fat percent.”
““It’s time Australia had a nation-wide focus on tackling the obesity epidemic facing our society. We call on governments and other stakeholders to work with us to implement our strategic direction to encourage Australians to participate in sport and an active lifestyle,” Mr Walker said.