Science-- there's something for everyone

Saturday, February 4, 2012

For better child health, exercise safely

Many parts of the world are experiencing an epidemic in childhood obesity and its concomitant ill health.  One obvious way to alleviate this problem is to encourage children to get more exercise.  Unfortunately, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, programs that encourage fitness generally do not give enough advice on avoiding injury.

Personally, I'm not so sure this kind of advice is necessary. Yes, pedestrian injury is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. for kids ages 5 to 14.  Injury in general is the leading cause of death for those under 44 years old.  This study does outline measures that can be taken to decrease injuries both prior to and during exercise.  For example, cities can design safe walking and biking zones and put fences around public pools.  They can also provide play equipment with proper surfacing and guard rails.

On the other hand, the study also discusses ways that participants can work to keep themselves safe.  Do we really need a study telling us that people engaged in water sports should learn to swim?