A permanent cure for childhood obesity seems as elusive as a cure for the common cold. However, just as we know that rest and hydration can help the symptoms of that cold regardless of your age or gender, a new study now indicates that exercise and a plant-based diet can enhance the health of both normal weight and obese children, reports UCLA researchers.
In their research, the UCLA School of Nursing professors discovered "that both healthy-weight and obese children who participated in an intensive lifestyle modification program significantly improved their metabolic and cardiovascular health despite little weight loss." The findings indicate that by making lifestyle changes (i.e. diet and exercise), children benefit almost immediately.
"These findings suggest that short-term lifestyle modifications through changing diet and exercise can have an immediate impact on improving risk factors such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes," said Christian Roberts, an associate research professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and the study's lead author. "This work underscores the need to focus on changing lifestyle as opposed to focusing on body weight and weight loss."
Worth noting: The study ranks as the first to compare the benefits of diet and fitness shifts in obese as well as normal children. It's always important to check with your child's pediatrician before making diet changes. In addition, experts suggest incorporating changes in the entire family's diet rather than singling out one child. For help, consider investing in plant-based cookbooks that provide meals everyone can enjoy, such as: