Pharos-Tribune

Community News Network

June 16, 2014

Study: Kids gain weight more quickly over summer break

Any parent or teacher can tell you that schoolchildren tend to slip back a bit academically over the long summer break. But now a Harvard University study has come up with troubling indications that they also gain weight more quickly during those months when, traditionally, we hope they're outdoors much of the time, enjoying the summer sun.

In a statement that will make school administrators and lunch ladies across the land a little happier, Rebecca Franckle, who led the research, said: "Despite the criticism schools face, something about that environment is actually promoting healthy growth opportunities."

Franckle's research, which compiled and analyzed the results of seven studies that have delved into this issue and was released Thursday in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Preventing Chronic Disease, has several important limitations. But it does provide hints that kids in the 5-to-12 age range may be more sedentary, spending more time in front of television and computer screens and eating more fattening snacks when they leave the structured environment that school provides each day. Their sleep patterns are also probably less regular.

Especially vulnerable are kids who are already overweight or obese and poorer minority children. Low-income kids, the study speculates, have less access to summer camps and other places where they can get some exercise.

Many low-income children depend on school breakfasts and lunches for a significant portion of their calories during the nine months of the school year, and in recent years, federal and state mandates have forced improvements in the quality of some of those offerings. Franckle, a doctoral candidate in Harvard's School of Public Health, said that something in the schools is promoting access to healthier foods and/or more exercise.

She and her colleagues looked at seven studies of summer weight gain among children in the United States, Canada and Japan, and they found six that showed it accelerated for at least some of the kids. The researchers noted that while there has been extensive research on school-based interventions that aim to improve children's health, they actually spend 185 to 190 days each year outside of school.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.