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Intervention Helps Kids Adopt Healthier Behaviors

separator A program designed to increase the activity of third graders during school helped the children change to activities such as swimming and soccer instead of watching television. The 8-week program included physical education classes that featured activities such as jump rope and other non-competitive exercise. There were three 20-minute sessions per week. Additionally, children were encouraged to increase their level of activity at home.

Before the study began, the children were asked to list their three most common leisure activities. About 24 percent listed activities such as watching television, reading and playing video games. After the school-based intervention, the percentage dropped to 16 percent.

This study is especially important given the knowledge that heart disease can start developing in childhood. And just as important is that the children enjoyed the program, which increases the probability that children enrolled in such programs will continue with the healthier behaviors.

American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2004.
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