This has to be the simplest way yet to fight the battle of the bulge. Well, for our kids at least.
So what is it? Simple…step outside. That’s it.
A recent study, published in the November 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that low levels of vitamin D may be putting kids at an increased risk of obesity.
A group of researchers, led by Eduardo Villamor of the University of Michigan, began measuring the vitamin D levels and fat indicators (body-mass index, waist circumference, and skin-fold ratio) in school children ages 5-12 in Bogota, Colombia.
The researchers found that the kids who were deficient in vitamin D gained weight more quickly and accumulated more fat around the middle than did the kids who were getting enough of the so-called “sunshine vitamin.”
You may recall that having a body shape with more fat around the midsection, known as an apple body shape, puts you at significantly more risk for heart disease and type II diabetes. So not only are vitamin D deficient kids carrying around a few extra pounds, they’re also being set up for a lifetime of chronic health problems down the road.
Of course, the cause of childhood obesity is a much more complex problem than just vitamin D deficiency alone. A diet full of highly processed foods packed with high-fructose corn syrup and bad fats, combined with a lack of movement (when’s the last time you saw your child or grandchild choose a game of tag over a video game?), are to blame also.
But what this study illustrates is that a simple lack of sunshine could be the first domino to fall in the line down the path to obesity and chronic disease.
Why not eliminate the problem by turning off the TV and planning more outdoor activities with your child or grandchild? The exercise and vitamin D will do you both good. (As you may recall, I wrote to you back in July about the tie between vitamin D deficiency and diabetes in adults.)
And remember that your outdoor family time certainly doesn’t have to involve a strenuous workout or a complicated game. Something as simple as a daily 20-minute walk before dinner could give the entire family the shot of this valuable vitamin that your bodies need.