Supervised play offers benefits for children struggling with obesity

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
News 12 This Morning

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Childhood obesity rates are continuing to increase in the United States however, experts at the Medical College of Georgia(AU Health) are learning that tackling obesity takes both physical and mental exercise.

Dr. Catherine Davis, a clinical health psychologist at MCG, compared a group of active and sedentary children. In her study she found that both groups had there advantages and disadvantages.

"The kids who were in the exercise program had improved brain health and they also showed improved health in their aerobic fitness and it reduced levels of fatness compared to the other group," Davis explains.

However, the sedentary group's depression-like symptoms decreased over time.

Currently one in five school-aged children are obese. A number that experts say has more than tripled since the 1970s. Dr. Davis, says a huge contribution to these rates is the American diet.

"Nutritional levels have changed, there is an incredible amount of sugar in the American diet, at this point, people are less active than they a use to be including children."

While, competing and playing sports is important for a child's development, Dr. Davis says some competition can hurt your child more that help them.

"We have such a competitive society that they may get discouraged when they are no longer a part of the winning team or the first to get picked, Davis explains our competitive nature."

However, it is proven that kids need balance.
Instead of always playing with other children, sometimes they need an adult.

"Adult supervision is not only important for children's safety and also their development but, what we did in our program we had not just adult supervision but, an organized program with clear consequences for their behaviors and they were able to interact with peers

Dr. Davis tells News 12 this particular study was done on a group of predominately black children however, the results are tactics can be used for all children.

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