Based on results from more than 2000 primary-age schoolchildren from across London, the researchers found that walking or cycling to school is a strong predictor of obesity levels, a result which was consistent across neighbourhoods, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. The results are reported in the journal BMC Public Health.
The study, led by researchers from the University of Cambridge, is the first to assess the impact of physical activity on childhood overweight and obesity levels for primary schoolchildren by simultaneously relating two of the main types of extracurricular physical activity: daily commuting to school and frequency of participation in sport.
Instead of using Body-mass index (BMI) as a measure of obesity, the researchers measured body fat and muscle mass and assessed how these were correlated with physical activity levels. BMI is the most commonly-used metric to measure obesity levels due to its simplicity, however, it is limited as BMI looks at total weight, including ‘healthy’ muscle mass, rather than fat mass alone.
[+] Read More