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School exercise won't help

THE problem of overweight children won't be solved by piling on exercise in school, according to new research presented yesterday.

Youngsters who have a lot of physical activities during school hours tend to wilt when they get home. Children who have less action in school are more active after the final bell rings, says the study.

In the end, a child will expend the same amount of energy, whether in school or out, suggesting that his level of activity is set by some kind of internal meter in the brain, said the lead researcher, Terry Wilkin, professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Peninsula Medical School in the British city of Plymouth.

The research was conducted on 206 children aged 8 to 10 over two years beginning in 2003. It was presented to the European Congress on Obesity in the Dutch capital.

But Tim Lobstein, director of childhood obesity program for the International Association for the Study of Obesity, said it was important to encourage physical activity at school so that children develop an affinity for it later on.


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