Childhood Obesity Statistics

Resistance Training for Children

It’s often stated that children should not engage in resistance training with weights as it will stunt their growth. However, this is not the case. 

Given the current obesity pandemic, this myth is in fact doing more harm than resistance training ever could.

Here are some statistics from the World Health Organisation:

• Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.

• 38 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2019.

• Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.

Weight training provides a number of benefits for children including. These include better body composition, improved cardiovascular health, greater bone density and improved psychological well-being. Resistance training may also help to prevent sport related injuries.

Points to consider in resistance training

Now, in order for children to benefit from resistance training with or without additional weight there are some considerations.

According to the ACSM children must be:

• At an appropriate age to respond to coaching 

• Supervised at all times 

• They may use body weight as resistance or external weights using sub maximal loads within the 8-15 rep range. 

• Performing 3 resistance training sessions per week to be part of a structured programme, or other physical activity such as climbing trees. 

• Good mechanical form is paramount.

In conclusion, coached correctly and in line with the ACSMs guidelines, it is clear the benefits to children far outweigh the risks.

We can therefore help children create a lifelong healthy habit that will serve them well into the future. As a result, it will help them to avoid the plethora of ailments affecting our society’s well-being. 

Take a look at a study run by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/key-topics/nutrition-obesity/about-childhood-obesity

Encouraging children to take part in a regular sport/activity is also a great way to help with this issue. Not only can it help them maintain a healthy body, it can also help them make friends and improve social skills too.

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