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Children's Exercise Sessions Often Too Short to Prevent Obesity

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Too few children and teens engage in exercise sessions that last long enough to reduce their risk of obesity, say Canadian researchers.

They analyzed data on 2,498 young people, ages 8 to 17, who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Motion sensors were used to measure the participants' levels of physical activity. The results showed that two-thirds of their physical activity involved short, sporadic sessions that lasted less than five minutes, United Press International reported.

"Even in 60-minute physical education classes or team practices, children are inactive for a large portion of the time, and this would not necessarily count as sustained exercise," study author Ian Janssen, of Queen's University, said in a news release. "When children engage in longer periods of sustained physical activity, there is a smaller likelihood that they will be overweight or obese."

The study is in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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