A new study of middle school girls shows that after-school programs, in addition to school physical education classes, may be one answer to reducing obesity in teens.
The just-released results of the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG) showed that moderate to vigorous after-school physical activity, in programs that can range from hip hop dancing to surfing, can modestly increase the amount of physical activity for young teenage girls, to the point that it could prevent excess weight gain of about two pounds per year.
The TAAG study found that programs which linked schools in six geographic regions of the U.S. with community partners (such as the YMCA or YWCA, local health clubs, and community recreation centers) increased time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity among the middle-school female students by about two minutes per day, or 80 calories a week. This finding occurred after three years of the intervention, but not after two years.
TAAG showed a reduction of 8.2 minutes of sedentary behavior in girls in the intervention schools. Furthermore, the best results were seen in programs offered between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, which suggest that after-school programs are more effective than programs offered at other times, such as morning weekdays and weekends.
Source: Medical News Today