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Effects of exercising at a young age

Posted Dec 14 2008 7:41pm

I read this online from the NY Times today and wanted to share. It's a Q&A session with Dr. Barry E. Levin, a neurologist at New Jersey Medical School.

"Q. Does exercise really make a difference?

A. A large group of people in the National Weight Control Registry report doing very heavy amounts of exercise as part of their weight management strategy. And we know that exercise helps overcome the body's natural tendency to lower its resting energy expenditure in response to weight loss. But for most people, exercise in and of itself isn't the answer.

What we are finding is that exercise done very early — immediately after weaning in animals, and probably anywhere from age 2 to 8 in humans — may help prevent someone with an obesity-prone template from becoming fat. We did an experiment in which a running wheel was put in a cage of animals who enjoy using it. They ran on it like crazy, and we found that even animals with a propensity to obesity did not gain weight, even after the wheel was taken away. The effect was incredibly dramatic.

We had never been able to change the set point of the obesity-prone before, and we suspected that exercise done during this early developmental period somehow made their brains more sensitive to leptin signals. We don't know if the effect is permanent, but it certainly is long-lasting. And it's encouraging because it shows that there may be a way to change the obesity genotype with an early intervention."

I'm going out on a limb here, but I bet most of you reading this are not between the ages of 2 and 8 years old. However, you may have children in your life that are between these ages; encourage them to exercise for their future health. Help others live well!
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