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Break for Exercise

Do your children like to veg out in front of screens for hours at a time? If so, interrupt them!

Brief intervals of exercise during otherwise sedentary periods might protect children against diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a small study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

Children who interrupted periods of sitting with three minutes of moderate-intensity walking every half hour had lower levels of blood glucose and insulin, compared to periods when they remained seated for three hours.

“We know that 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity benefits children’s health,” said the study’s senior author, Jack A. Yanovski, M.D., chief of NICHD’s Section on Growth and Obesity. “It can be difficult to fit longer stretches of physical activity into the day. Our study indicates that even small activity breaks could have a substantial impact on children’s long-term health.”

So, encourage your children to get up and moving.