Small amounts of exercise make a big difference


Obesity is implicated in a variety of disorders: diabetes, chronic fatigues, heart failure, depression. Overweight teens also struggle with body dissatisfaction, social alienation and low self esteem. Dr. Gary Goldfield, registered psychologist, clinical researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, has researched how exercise impacts teens once it is introduced into their lives.

Just get the kids started

“The first thing I tell teens and parents struggling with their weight in my practice is to throw away the scale,” said Dr. Gary Goldfield. “These kids face enough challenges with bullying and peer pressure today! This new study is proof positive that even a modest dose of exercise is prescriptive for a mental health boost.”

Exercise was moderate and comfortable

Thirty teens aged 12 to 17 were recruited for the program. They participated in twice weekly lab-based sessions of either stationary cycling to the music of their choice or interactive video game. This lasted ten weeks. Exercise was performed at a moderate intensity. Music was used to distract from discomfort. The volunteers could stop whenever they wanted to during their 60-minute exercise session. Afterwards, they were measured for psychosocial functioning including scholastic competence, social competence, athletic competence, body image and self esteem.

Weight didn’t change but attitude did

Although their bodies didn’t change much, they tested much better on all other aspects including body image, self esteem and weight esteem. “We’re talking about psychological benefits derived from improved fitness resulting from modest amount of aerobic exercise – not a change in weight or body fat,” explained Dr. Goldfield. “If you can improve your physical activity and fitness even minimally, it can help improve your mental health. By teaching kids o focus on healthy active lifestyle behaviors, they are focusing on something they can control.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Pediatric Psychology


This information is solely for informational and educational purposes only. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, family planning, child psychology, marriage counseling and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care or mental health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of or the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, application of medication or any other action involving the care of yourself or any family members which results from reading this site. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Additional information contained in our Legal Statement

What does your weekly dinner look like?
The whole family dines together at home
The whole family dines together at a restaurant
Parents and children eat separately
Whoever is around eats together
Every family member for themselves!
Total votes: 5755