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From Health Day

Does Exercise Help or Hinder Your Diet?

Research shows a workout dulls the appetite, at least temporarily

overweight man on treadmill

Dieters sometimes worry that workouts could make them hungry, but new research indicates exercise has the opposite effect, diminishing the appetite — at least temporarily.

In two small studies, participants who burned the same number of calories through exercise as those who cut back on food intake ate almost one-third less at a buffet meal. Men and women also seemed to show similar hunger-hormone responses to exercise-induced calorie deficits.

“Some researchers have claimed that women’s appetites, appetite hormones and food intake are more likely to increase after exercise than men’s,” said study author David Stensel, a lecturer in exercise metabolism at Loughborough University in England.

“Our new study shows that this is not the case — at least over the course of a single day,” he added. “We have seen this previously in men but were curious to see if women responded in the same way.”

The research was published in the March issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

In one study, Stensel and his team analyzed hormonal, psychological and behavioral responses to calorie control through exercise and food restriction over nine hours in a group of 12 healthy women.

Participants whose calorie deficit stemmed from restricting food intake exhibited increased levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin and lower levels of a hunger-suppressing hormone called peptide YY, according to the study.

At a buffet meal, these women also ate an average of 944 calories, compared to 660 calories for participants whose calorie deficits were created by running on a treadmill, the investigators found.

In the other study, 10 men and 10 women completed 60 minutes of running at the start of a seven-hour trial. Appetite perception, appetite hormones and food intake after exercise did not appear to differ between the sexes.

Stensel emphasized that the appetite-suppressing effects of exercise are strongest during vigorous workouts.

“The take-home message is that exercise will not necessarily make you overeat or compensate by eating more food,” he said. “There is a widespread perception that exercise will make you hungry and cause you to overeat. We have shown this is not necessarily the case, at least in the short term.”

Kelly Pritchett, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Chicago, said she is curious how exercise might affect appetite up to 24 hours afterward, and not just in the very short term.

“One weakness [of this study] is that the findings may not be generalized to a less-fit population, who may be more concerned with weight loss,” said Pritchett. She is also an assistant professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash.

Stensel and Pritchett agreed that more research is needed, including studies examining different types and intensities of exercise, and among groups of less active or fit individuals.

“Our participants were young, fit and healthy — most of them were university students,” Stensel explained. “It is possible that individuals who are overweight will respond differently … [and] also possible that exercise will cause compensatory increases in food intake over the longer term — weeks and months.”

Tuesday 150721

“Rachel”
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From USA Today

Preschool kids starved for exercise

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Add preschoolers to the list of Americans who don’t get enough exercise.

In a new study out today, Seattle researchers found that preschoolers only get about 48 minutes of exercise a day, although some studies suggest they should get at least two hours.

At that age, exercise is crucial for preventing obesity, as well as for developing motor and social skills, said Pooja Tandon, an assistant professor at the University of Washington and a researcher at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Childhood obesity has increased dramatically in the past generation. The percentage of children ages 6 to 11 who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012, while the percentage of obese adolescents ages 12 to 19 grew from 5% to nearly 21%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The push to build academic skills has trickled down to preschools, squeezing out time for active play, Tandon said, noting that research in older kids shows a strong connection between exercise and learning.

In the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers went into 10 preschools in the Seattle area and tracked kids’ activities across the day for a total of 50 days. Nearly 100 children also wore devices to follow their activity levels.

The children were provided opportunities for active play only about 12% of the time, while 29% of their day was spent napping. Kids spent the rest of their time eating or in sedentary activities. They played outside for a little more than a half hour outside on a typical day, the study found.

“It’s just not enough,” said Tandon, who led the study.

There are many opportunities to make regular features of preschool more active, said Debbie Chang, vice president of Delaware-based Nemours Children’s Health System, which recommends “best practices” for daycare centers. Even reading a book like The Wheels on the Bus, can provide a chance for kids to get up and act out the rolling of the wheels and swishing of the wiper blades, rather than sitting quietly and listening, she said.

Preschools can get creative to get kids moving. Chang noted the example of a daycare center in Petersburg, Va. which had no outdoor space of its own, but received permission to use the parking lot of a neighboring business so kids could play for an hour in the mornings.

The children’s behavior improved, as did their sleep at nap time, Chang said. Parents saw the benefits of the extra outside time and started making more opportunities for their children to play outdoors.

Day care providers need to be more explicit about making time for active play, agreed Rachel Robertson, vice president of Bright Horizons, an international chain of day care and drop-off centers.

“We as educators have to shift from hoping (active play) will happen to being as purposeful about it as we are about math and language development,” Robertson said.

Getting kids to spell out letters with their bodies or practice numbers while jumping rope can boost both activity levels and learning, she said. “We should see unstructured physical activity woven into our lifestyles,” she said, “rather than as a separate thing that we do.”