The ANU has the bad news for parents that physical activity has more to do with childhood obesity than what they eat.
So blaming junk food advertising isn’t going to cut it.
Lead researcher Professor Richard Telford from the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment and the Clinical Trials Unit at The Canberra Hospital said the new aspect of the LOOK study provides some of the strongest evidence to date in the important debate around how best to tackle childhood obesity.
“Our four-year study of 734 otherwise healthy Australian children in the general community, aged between 8 and 12 years, found that the main difference between lean and overweight children was that lean children were more physically active,” Professor Telford said.
“Children with a higher proportion of body fat, even those considered obese, did not consume more kilojoules – they did not eat more fat, carbohydrate or sugar – than those who were lean.
“Indeed, our study found that leaner boys actually consumed more kilojoules over the four years of the study than overweight boys, but were much more physically active.
“The data also indicated that if a child became more active during the four years he or she became leaner. Alternatively, a child who became less active increased his or her body fat percent.”