Does going to school keep kids fit?

Filed under: Big Kids, Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health, Day Care & Education

I have been known to gain a few pounds while on vacation. My eating habits change when I am not working and this usually means eating at odd hours and eating more just for the pleasure of it. All that lying around with no particular place to go also contributes to the increased poundage.

Researchers say the summer school break is having a similar effect on young kids. A new study found that 5 and 6 year olds gained more weight over the summer than they did during the school year. The Indiana University and Ohio State study looked at the growth rate of the body-mass indexes (BMI) of 5,380 kindergartners and first-graders. The results showed that, on average, their BMI's increased more than twice as much during the school vacation months as they did during the school year.

The study didn't examine exactly what caused the weight gain, but experts blame the fact that kids have fewer structured activities when school is out. Summer vacation often means less time spent running around being active and more time playing video games and watching television.

That makes sense to me. When Christy spent the summer after second grade lounging around at grandma's house, she did get a little chubby. She watched a lot of television and snacked out of boredom. When school resumed, she slimmed back down. Adding some structured exercise time to your kid's summer plans might be a good idea.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.