Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/03/2014 -- While digits on a scale can help determine body weight, health status is influenced by a number of other determining factors. New research from the Univeristy of Alberta and Alberta Health Services is stressing that overall health is affected by a variety of factors, such as activity levels, television or screen time, and diet, rather than just body weight and BMI.
A study of 181 obese children aged eight to seventeen years showed that over a third could be classified as healthy – meaning not imminently at risk for developing pre-cursor diseases related to type 2 diabetes or other obesity related illnesses. Researchers explained that lifestyle practices – such as how active a person is, what their diet is, and how mentally healthy they are all have an impact on overall health independent of obesity.
Though all the children in the study were classified as obese, those who were metabolically healthy were more active and spent less time watching television then their peers. They also consumed fewer calories, less fat, and less meat than other participants in the study as well. The study included not only measures of obesity, but also looked at bone structure and body mass index (BMI) as well.
Researchers hope these findings can assist physicians and other health professionals in understanding the complex characteristics of obesity, and can help them formulate treatment programs to tackle the issues.
“Since most children with obesity find it challenging to lose weight and maintain weight loss over time, improving metabolic health by being physically active and eating healthfully is an important result in and of itself.”
Many communities are making shifts towards encouraging overall wellness in their populations by adding parks, walking and biking paths, and other support systems for those fighting a battle with obesity, or simply looking for ways to become more active. Teaching good nutrition and activity habits when we’re young can go a long way in making a person healthier overall despite weight levels.
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