Sunday, January 17, 2010

Canadians are weaker and fatter? No surprise, says kinesiologist

Canadians are weaker and fatter? No surprise, says kinesiologistIt's no surprise Canadians are getting weaker and fatter, given the advent of "quick and easy," lifestyles that are increasingly driven by technology, says a kinesiologist who works with cardiac patients in Sault Ste. Marie. "I've sort of seen this coming over the last 10 years, it's just nice that it is now really statistically proven," said Domenic Sorrenti, who works on cardiac rehab with patients in the Group Health Centre's vascular intervention program. "How many times have you gone down a street and looked over at a playground and seen kids playing outside? I don't see any at all," he said. "I think they're all inside playing video games." Sorrenti said the root cause of declining fitness among Canadians won't be easy to change. A Statistics Canada study, touted as the most comprehensive national survey ever conducted, found that fitness levels of children, youth and young adults, regardless of gender, declined significantly between 1981 and 2009. The Canadian Health Measures Survey found body composition among children has deteriorated significantly over the last 20 years, while at the same time, more teens became overweight. The study also showed that based on waist circumference, the percentage of adults 20-39 at risk for health problems more than quadrupled. The deterioration was particularly pronounced for both Canadian men and women age 20 to 39, with 31 per cent of women and 21 per cent of men in that group now considered at high risk for health problems because of their weight. Sorrenti said it is important that the study took into account more than simply weight and height indicators. That children and teens are seeing issues in these more specific areas is, "bad," he said. "You're looking at grip strength, flexibility, muscle endurance, aerobic capacity, blood pressure, lung function," said Sorrenti. "These are vital measurements of overall health, not just a weight and height ratio that lets me know if you're healthy." To reverse the trend will mean altering the North American lifestyle, in which children eat unhealthy food, and don't participate in physical activity, said Sorrenti. "This is going to take years to change, and it's going to have to come from all levels," said Sorrenti

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