Be Active Your Way Blog
Brett D. Owens, MD: Brett is an orthopaedic surgeon in the U.S. Army currently stationed at the United States Military Academy where he cares for student-athletes. He is new to blogging, but is excited to participate representing the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
David Geier, MD: Dr. Geier is an orthopaedic surgeon and the Director of MUSC Sports Medicine. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Wake Forest University and after completing medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina, he completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at the world-famous Campbell Clinic in Memphis, Tenn. He completed a sports medicine fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as the team physician at Washington University in St. Louis and assisted in the orthopaedic care of the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Rams. He returned to Charleston in 2005 and created the MUSC Sports Medicine program.
Dr. Geier is Board Certified in orthopaedic surgery. He is a member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, an associate member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America, and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He serves on the Public Relations Committee for AOSSM. He is a principal reviewer for the American Journal of Sports Medicine and a regular contributor for Outpatient Surgery magazine. He is the Head Team Physician for the Charleston Battery and Head Tournament Physician for the Family Circle Cup. He has served as orthopaedic consultant for professional and elite sports teams, including the United States Women’s Soccer team when they played in Charleston. He also serves as the head team physician for many area high schools and is the head physician for many recreational sports teams and leagues.
It is well known the regular physical activity among aging adults can maintain bone health and decrease the risk of fractures. A new study presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day suggests that physical activity and exercise early in life might be equally important.
Bjorn Rosengren, MD, PhD and other researchers performed a controlled exercise intervention among children aged 7-9 in Malmo, Sweden. The intervention group comprised of 362 girls and 446 boys who received 40 minutes of daily physical education at school. The control group consisted of 780 girls and 807 boys who received 60 minutes of physical education per week. The authors collected data on fractures among all participants and assessed skeletal maturity each year.
During the study, there were 72 fractures in the daily exercise group and 143 in the control group. The participants in the exercise group also exhibited higher spine bone mass density than those in the control group.
“Increased activity in the younger ages helped induce higher bone mass and improve skeletal size in girls without increasing the fracture risk. Our study highlights yet another reason why kids need to get regular daily exercise to improve their health both now and in the future,” concluded Rosengren.
This study offers several important messages. First, all of us need to exercise. Even as we get older, we need to take long walks or go for jogs several times a week. Or we can swim, bike, lift weights, or play sports. While bone loss can occur with age, regular exercise can slow its loss. People with healthy bones likely suffer fewer fractures.
A large amount of bone formation occurs in the first two decades of life. As the study demonstrates, activity at these ages can lead to stronger bones that persist later in life. Sports and exercise done as a kid can lead to better bone health as an adult.
Adults should be exercising regularly for themselves. We can also help our children by getting outside and playing with them. Encouraging them to safely play sports and do all types of physical activities is beneficial for the entire family! How do you encourage physical activity at all ages?
Tags: physical activity, Specialty Day, exercise intervention, study
Obesity rates continue to rise across the United States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently estimates that more than 35% of American adults are obese, and about 17% of children and adolescents are obese.
Numerous health risks are linked to obesity. They comprise some of the most common preventable causes of death, including coronary heart disease, type II diabetes mellitus, and strokes. In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion. Efforts to decrease obesity among adults and children are crucial from a public health standpoint.
Current Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 minutes (or about 30 minutes, five times a week) of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. Specifically for weight loss purposes, many experts recommend longer durations of exercise - up to 60 minutes per day.
Are these longer periods of exercise necessary for optimal weight loss? Does the extra time increase fat loss? Or is there a compensation effect whereby the body adjusts to the additional exercise?
In a paper published recently in the American Journal of Physiology, studied this question using samples of overweight, sedentary men. The authors compared a group which performed 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise for 13 weeks to one which performed 60 minutes per day.
The authors compared the groups based on body fat loss, as well negative accumulated energy balance, which they calculated from the changes in body composition.
Participants who performed 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day experienced the same amount of body fat loss compared to those who performed 60 minutes per day. Surprisingly, the overweight men who exercised 30 minutes per day had a much greater than predicted negative energy balance. There was no additional benefit obtained by doing 60 minutes of exercise per day.
The authors concluded that while one group of overweight men performed twice the amount of daily aerobic exercise, the decrease in body weight and body fat was no greater than the group that performed half as much.
This study provides good news to overweight individuals who want to start an exercise regimen to lose weight and body fat. Since many of these people do not regularly exercise, starting with 30 minutes per day might be more appealing. They might be more likely to stick to the shorter programs.
When it comes to obesity and weight loss, any exercise seems better than none at all. While we need much more research to find ideal nutritional changes and specific exercise recommendations, Americans of all ages can at least start with moderate amounts of exercise each day.
What do you think about this study and its findings? Will it make you more likely to try to perform physical activity each day?
Tags: physical activity, weight loss, exercise amount
Active Advice | News & Reports
Childhood obesity has become a public health concern in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 12.5 million children and adolescents are obese. This number accounts for approximately 17% of children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19 in the United States. Worse, it estimates that the obesity rate among children and adolescents has tripled since 1980.
Many factors likely play a role in the trend for increasing childhood obesity in the United States. These factors include the consumption of fast food and soft drinks, lack of physical activity, and increased time spent watching television or playing video games.
While preaching better nutrition and physical activity to kids is essential, that message will likely prove far more effective if parents serve as better examples of good health.
What can parents do to lead healthy lifestyles and demonstrate those lifestyle behaviors to their children?
Teach better nutrition
Not only should kids eat healthier foods and drink healthier beverages, they should also learn to make better nutritional choices themselves. Getting rid of junk food and soft drinks can be good start for a healthier family, but children should learn how to choose healthier foods and beverages.
One idea that parents can consider for instilling proper nutrition involves taking the kids to the grocery store. Walk up and down the aisles and teach them why certain foods are more nutritious than others. Then allow them to select some of the foods and drinks themselves, perhaps for a family meal. If they can bring their own lunches to school, allow them to choose foods for their daily lunches.
By teaching nutrition at an early age, it's more likely these youth will make healthier food choices as they get older and more independent.
Limit screen time
The amount of time that kids spend staring at a screen is staggering. When parents consider how much time their children perform these activities, they need to consider how often their kids spend time watching TV, using computers, playing video games, watching movies, or looking at cell phones.
Studies show that kids between the ages of 8 and 18 watch television for an average of 4.5 hours per day. When other forms of screen time are included, this average jumps to 7.5 hours per day.
This screen time can increase the chances that a child becomes obese. Kids are likely to snack, especially on junk food, while watching TV. Also, these young kids will likely see hundreds of advertisements for unhealthy foods and beverages during the television programs. More importantly, some of that 7.5 hours could be spent engaging in regular physical activity.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents limit their children's total media consumption to no more than one to two hours per day. While this guideline is critical for children and adolescents to follow, parents should use it as well. It is hard to preach limits on screen time if the parents come home and watch TV too.
Engage the family in physical activity
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that children and adolescents perform at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Parents can play a large role in helping their kids achieve these daily recommendations by engaging them in fun activities involving physical exertion. Jogging, walking, taking bike rides, hiking, and many other activities can be both fun and physically beneficial. To keep the kids enthusiastic about exercise, allowing them to bring their friends or encourage them to pick the activities.
If children see their parents exercising regularly, they are also more likely to accept it as a normal part of their own lives. They might look forward to exercising rather than perceiving it as some sort of punishment.
If parents commit to becoming healthier themselves - making better nutrition choices and performing regular physical activity - their children are much more liekly to emulate these behaviors.
What are you doing to engage your family in fitness?
Tags: physical activity, childhood obesity, prevention, parents, families
Barriers | Recreation
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
Content for this site is maintained by the
Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.