We all know that childhood obesity is on the rise. And one would think that adding more sports and physical activity programs at school and after school would help reduce that. But according to a new study, it’s not. In fact, not only are these programs failing to help kids maintain a healthy weight, they are failing to get them moving at all. How can that be?
Presented in the BMJ, researchers tabulated results from 30 different studies to evaluate the effectiveness of after-school exercise clubs, PE classes and other sports programs. Throughout the study, over 14,000 kids were monitored by wearing accelerometers (or motion sensors) and filling out questionnaires.
What they found was frustrating: these programs are not working at increasing overall physical activity. The researchers categorized the effect as “small to negligible” for increased movement throughout the day and only noted an increase of four minutes per day for those who were involved in higher-intensity programs, like brisk walking or running.