Rewards Do Not Improve Kids Health

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chubbykideatingFrom Your Health Journal…..”I love articles by Reuters Health, and here is another great one to promote called Rewards get kids active, but don’t improve health by By Kerry Grens. According to a new study, children will meet activity goals to earn rewards, but the extra effort doesn’t necessarily affect their weight and health. Modern day children have become very sedentary, as they are actively involved in technology – video games, computers, cell phones, hand-held devices, Ipads, and a host of other electronics. Take into account the many hours of TV time, and we have a mini crisis on our hand. Heart disease is on the rise, and type 2 diabetes is increasing in children. Change is needed. Many had thought that giving kids rewards for activity may help fight the crisis, but the new research is stating something different. Incentives are getting kids active, but not enough to fight obesity. Please visit the Reuters web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Children will meet activity goals to earn rewards, but the extra effort doesn’t necessarily affect their weight and health, according to a new study.

The findings reinforce earlier research showing that incentives work to get kids more physically active, but the goal might need to be more challenging to show any health benefits.

“If I had to do it again I would do it at a higher level. It was too easy,” said Eric Finkelstein at the Duke-National University of Singapore, who led the new study.

Inactivity among kids is a pressing concern in the U.S. and abroad (see Reuters Health story of March 29, 2010 here:

“Kids are known to be inactive, getting five hours a day of screen time,” said Gary Goldfield, a scientist with the Healthy Active Living and Obesity research group at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, who was not involved in the study.

Finkelstein and his colleagues designed a program meant to encourage more physical activity among elementary school-age kids.

All of the children in the study wore a pedometer for an average of nine months to measure how many steps they took each day.

One group of 138 kids was told to aim for a minimum of 8,000 steps per day (for an adult that’s about four miles).

Each month, the kids who met this goal for at least half of the days received a Toys-R-Us gift card worth about $24.

In addition, this group was encouraged to attend outdoor events with enticements to win theme park or zoo tickets.

The researchers compared this group of children to another group of 113 kids who wore a pedometer, but were not given any incentives or offers to participate in outdoor activities.

At the beginning and the end of the study the researchers collected the kids’ height and weight, heart rate and other physical and mental health measures.

To read the full article…..Click here

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