Weighted toys may help kids get fit during playtime

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    Post Weighted toys may help kids get fit during playtime


    Saturday, July 1, 2006
    Weighted toys may help kids get fit during playtime


    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Adding weights to children's toys may help them improve their fitness during playtime, the results of a small study suggest.

    "This study provides one intervention to the current trend of declining fitness in America's youth," Dr. John C. Ozmun, of Indiana State University and his co-authors write.

    This will not be "the answer to childhood obesity, but it could be a small part of the puzzle, making a positive contribution," Ozmun told Reuters Health.

    Various reports have pointed to the benefits of physical activity in helping children maintain healthy body composition and improve cardiovascular and skeletal systems, heart rate, blood pressure and levels of the "good" HDL cholesterol. Studies have also shown that physical activity declines as children grow older.

    Ozmun and his colleagues investigated whether children's physical activity can be increased by subtly changing the task requirements of certain activities already common to them - i.e. by adding weights to toys used either during play or while learning.

    Their study included five boys and five girls, who were an average of 7.5 years old, who were randomly assigned to carry either large, cardboard toy blocks that weighed less than a quarter of a pound (0.10 kilograms) or blocks that weighed about 3.4 pounds (1.55 kilograms).

    The weighted toys had small steel blocks glued inside the larger blocks. The children picked up the blocks, one at a time, and carried them with two hands over approximately 26 feet. Days later, the children were assigned to the opposite type of toy block and repeated the activity.

    Overall, after an average of 10 minutes of carrying weighted blocks, the children experienced significantly greater increases in heart rate, oxygen uptake and energy expenditure than they did after carrying the lighter blocks, study findings indicate.

    "Handling heavier objects, either through play or instruction, may provide opportunities to increase workload intensity in a benign manner allowing for subsequent improvements in children's physical fitness," Ozmun's group concludes.

    The toys may also be useful in a therapeutic setting, particularly among children with cerebral palsy or Down's syndrome who show deficits in strength, according to Ozmun.

    Two issues that need to be explored are the design and safety of weighted toys and whether children would be interested in playing with them, the researcher noted.

    At this point, Ozmun does not recommend that parents add weights to their children's toys, expressing his safety concerns. What they can do, he said, is think about their child's play environment and create a "mindset of play that's more physically active."

    The findings were presented, in part, during the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health in April. Additional results were later presented at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.

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    I'm just gunna strap weights to my kids from when they are toddlers on, lol
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    Seems dangerous imo...some childrens toys are light for a reason (see wiffle ball)
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    Quote Originally Posted by rampage jackson
    Seems dangerous imo...some childrens toys are light for a reason (see wiffle ball)
    LOL, I would imagine that they are contemplating heavier building blocks and such, not items designed to be hurled at children
    Last edited by yeahright; 07-03-2006 at 12:58 PM.
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    When I do have kids, them playing with a basketball,baseball, or football will be well enough for me.
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    I just want you to know Rampage, i've seen your sig and i'm gonna take you down...take you down to China town!
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    pfft....bring it pansy boy...
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