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Active Teens Less 'At-Risk' for Obesity

In a finding that should come as no surprise to any conscientious parent, a study of adolescent weight problems found that teens who walk or bike to school and participate in two team sports a year were significantly less likely to be obese than those who did not. The study, conducted by Dartmouth Medical School and published in the journal Pediatrics, followed over 1,700 teens in New Hampshire and Vermont for seven years beginning in 2002. Nearly 30% of the overall study group were considered overweight or obese. The obesity rate for teens that played no sports was 40%. In teens that played two team sports, the obesity rate was 22%. The study also reported that those who walked or biked to school four to five times per week were 33% less likely to have weight problems. Keith Drake, the study's lead author, feels that playing multiple team sports may help more than just playing one, because those teens probably stay more active throughout the year. The researchers did, however, note that past research on walking to school and participating in sports has provided conflicting results in the reduction of obesity.

Source: Pediatrics Vol. 130 No. 2, August 1, 2012.