SAN FRANCISCO – According to research presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2012 Annual Meeting, exercise, support, and education are three key components of a strategy that can successfully help Hispanic parents and children lead healthier lifestyles.
Currently, obesity in children is climbing at an alarming rate, and the numbers are particularly troubling among the Hispanic population. The study followed 13 Hispanic mothers and children in the Los Angeles area over a 10-week period. The participants met twice weekly for exercise, health monitoring, and education regarding nutrition, fitness, and the health risks of obesity.
Adult participants in the study showed marked improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and exercise endurance. Mothers’ average systolic blood pressure decreased from 131.08 to 117.67. Total cholesterol dropped an average of 9.92 points, and blood glucose dropped 11.92 points. Average distance walked in 12 minutes increased by 21.97%.
In children, there were no significant changes in blood work; however, systolic blood pressure dropped an average of 6.63 mm Hg. Average distance run in 12 minutes increased by 13.27%
“Childhood obesity is a health issue plaguing young people across the nation, and is particularly a problem in Hispanic households,” said lead author Susan Shore, P.T., Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Azusa Pacific University. “This study demonstrates that implementing a simple program of group exercise and educational support can have a positive effect on fitness and cardiovascular disease risk factors.”
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