Tag Archives: adolescent sports

childhood obesity

Treating Childhood Obesity With Activity

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When talk focuses on childhood obesity in the United States, words like “critical” and “epidemic” are often used. The tried-and-true prescription of more exercise and better nutrition still holds true, but overweight children face unique challenges when it comes to weight loss.

Why Has Childhood Obesity Increased and What Are the Effects?
The statistics are disturbing. Not only are the overall obesity rates increasing, the heaviest kids are heavier than they were 30 years ago. Why is this happening? Experts who have studied childhood obesity attribute it to a change in lifestyle. The active lifestyle of the past—walking to school, playing outside, and engaging in after-school activities—has been replaced by a sedentary lifestyle of watching TV, playing video games, and using electronic devices like phones, computers, and tablets. Eating habits have changed noticeably, with convenience foods that are higher in fat and calories replacing fruits and vegetables.

The consequences of obesity are significant. A child who is obese may develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack and stroke. In addition, older teens who are obese may have an increased risk of death during adulthood.

Obesity can also affect emotional health. A child who is obese may have emotional problems in school, and struggle with low self-esteem and depression.

What Is One of the Best Solutions?
Exercise is one of the main tools to fight childhood obesity. The US Department of Health and Human Services encourages children of all ages to be physically active. If your child is overweight, obese, or even of normal weight, recommendations to improve your child’s health include:

  • Encouraging your young child (aged 1-4 years old) to actively play daily in a safe environment
  • Encouraging your older child (aged 5 years and up) to participate in moderate to vigorous activity every day—Your child should aim for at least one hour per day of moderate to vigorous activity. At least 3 days out of the week should be vigorous activity.

Since children often engage in shorter bursts of activity throughout the day, it is okay to count these times as exercise.

Examples of different types of physical activity include:

Moderate-intensity: Brisk walking, hiking, skateboarding, baseball, rollerblading, and bike riding
Vigorous-intensity: Jumping rope, running, and playing sports like basketball, hockey or tennis

The main difference between moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercises is the demand on the body. Vigorous activities force the body to work harder. The heart beats faster and breathing becomes more rapid, but energy is used up faster.

  • Rollerblading
  • Learning karate
  • Playing organized sports (field hockey, soccer, football)
  • Swimming
  • Gymnastics
  • Strength training with weights
  • Rock climbing
  • Cross-country skiing

Before your child jumps into a new fitness routine, it is important that you work with your child’s doctor. Being obese can put a strain on muscles and bones, possibly causing back pain and foot or ankle problems. The doctor can assess your child’s overall health and recommend safe exercises.

What Else Can Be Done to Encourage Activity?
Another important piece to the puzzle is to focus on screen time. Screen time refers to how many hours per day your child spends in front of a screen—whether it be watching TV, playing video games, or using electronic devices. These are sedentary activities that contribute to obesity. The NHLBI recommends that screen time should be limited to less than 2 hours per day, which leaves more time for exercise. You can further encourage your child to be active by planning family outings, like going on a hike, riding bikes, or playing flag football. That way, the whole family can become healthier together.

by Patricia Kellicker, BSN and Rebecca J. Stahl, MA

RESOURCES:
American Council on Exercise
http://www.acefitness.org

Shape Up America
http://www.shapeupus.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Healthy Alberta
http://www.healthyalberta.com

REFERENCES:
Aerobic, muscle, and bone-strengthening: What counts? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/children/what_counts.htm. Updated June 5, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2016.

Chapter 3: Active children and adolescents. US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter3.aspx. Accessed March 2, 2016.

How much physical activity do children need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/children/index.htm. Updated June 4, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2016.

Krul M, van der Wouden JC, Schellevis FG, van Suijlekom-Smit LW, Koes BW. Musculoskeletal problems in overweight and obese children. Ann Fam Med. 2009;7(4):352-356.

NCHBI integrated guidelines for pediatric cardiovascular risk reduction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 12, 2013. Accessed March 2, 2016.

Obesity in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 10, 2016. Accessed March 2, 2016.

Last reviewed March 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated: 3/2/2016

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

high school sports injuries

High School Sports Injuries

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Every year, millions of teenagers participate in high school sports. An injury to a high school athlete and the pressure to play can lead to decisions that may lead to additional injury with long-term effects. High school sports injuries can cause problems that require surgery as an adult, and may lead to arthritis later in life.

When a sports injury occurs, it is important to quickly seek proper treatment. To ensure the best possible recovery, athletes, coaches, and parents must follow safe guidelines for returning to the game.

Teenage athletes are injured at about the same rate as professional athletes, but because high school athletes are often still growing they are more susceptible to muscle, tendon, and growth plate injuries.

Types of High School Sports Injuries

Injuries among young athletes fall into two basic categories: overuse injuries and acute injuries. Both types include injuries to the soft tissues (muscles and ligaments) and bones.

Acute Injuries
Acute injuries are caused by a sudden trauma. Examples of trauma include collisions with obstacles on the field or between players. Common acute injuries among young athletes include contusions (bruises), sprains (a partial or complete tear of a ligament), strains (a partial or complete tear of a muscle or tendon), and fractures.

Overuse Injuries
Not all injuries are caused by a single, sudden twist, fall, or collision. Overuse injuries occur gradually over time, when an athletic activity is repeated so often, parts of the body do not have enough time to heal between playing.

Overuse injuries can affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and growth plates. For example, overhand pitching in baseball can be associated with injuries to the elbow. Swimming is often associated with injuries to the shoulder. Gymnastics and cheerleading are two common activities associated with injuries to the wrist and elbow.

Stress fractures are another common overuse injury in young athletes. Bone is in a constant state of turnover—a process called remodeling. New bone develops and replaces older bone. If an athlete’s activity is too great, the breakdown of older bone occurs rapidly, and the body cannot make new bone fast enough to replace it. As a result, the bone is weakened and stress fractures can occur—most often in the shinbone and bones of the feet.

Concussion
Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries. They are caused by a blow to the head or body that results in the brain moving rapidly back and forth inside the skull.

Although some sports have higher instances of concussion—such as football, ice hockey, and soccer—concussions can happen in any sport or recreational activity.


Growth Plate Injuries

Growth plates are areas of developing cartilage tissue near the ends of long bones. When a child becomes full-grown, the growth plates harden into solid bone.

Because growth plates are the last portion of bones to harden (ossify), they are vulnerable to fracture. Growth plates regulate and help determine the length and shape of adult bone, therefore, injuries to the growth plate can result in disturbances to bone growth and bone deformity.

Growth plate injuries occur most often in contact sports like football or basketball and in high impact sports like gymnastics.

ThinkstockPhotos-90911121

Treatment

Treatment will depend upon the severity of the injury, and may include a combination of physical therapy, strengthening exercises, and bracing. More serious injuries may require surgery.

Return to Play

A player’s injury must be completely healed before he or she returns to sports activity.

In case of a joint problem, the player must have no pain, no swelling, full range of motion, and normal strength.
In case of concussion, the player must have no symptoms at rest or with exercise, and should be cleared by the appropriate medical provider.

Prevention
Many high school sports injuries can be prevented through proper conditioning, training, and equipment.

High school athletes require sport specific training to prevent injury. Many injuries can be prevented with regular conditioning that begins prior to the formal sports season. Injuries often occur when athletes suddenly increase the duration, intensity, or frequency of their activity. Young athletes who are out of shape at the start of the season should gradually increase activity levels and slowly build back up to a higher fitness level.

Using proper technique for the position being played is also key to preventing injury. Proper equipment—from the right shoes to safety gear—is essential. In addition, injuries can be prevented when athletes understand and follow the rules of the game, and display good sportsmanship.

Information provided by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons