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Additional phys-ed helps overweight girls

Posted - Aug. 27, 2004 at 2:20 p.m.



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WASHINGTON, Aug 27, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A U.S. study released Friday shows even a small boost in physical education class time can help overweight kindergarten girls lose pounds.

The non-profit National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation paid for the survey conducted by the Rand Corp. and published in the September issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The study found increasing physical education classes in kindergarten and first grade by one hour per week could reduce the number of overweight 5- and 6-year-old girls by up to 10 percent. Five hours per week -- which comes closer to recommended levels of activity -- could reduce the number of overweight girls by 43 percent -- and cut the risk of girls becoming overweight by 60 percent.

This is the first nationwide evaluation of the role physical education instruction plays in reducing weight problems among American schoolchildren.

The study found increasing physical education instruction had no significant effect on boys in kindergarten and first grade, generally because boys that age are more active.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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