Three quarters of children in the United States are not meeting physical activity recommendations, according to a recent report authored by concerned health experts from around the country and by scientists from Baton Rouge at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center. The report, compiled by the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance, indicates that nearly 63 percent of children are exceeding screen time guidelines, meaning that a majority of kids are sitting more and moving less. These habits put our country’s children at risk for obesity, diabetes and related chronic disease as they get older.
Here in Louisiana, one out of every two children is considered overweight or obese*. That statistic is unacceptable to Amanda Stain, Ph.D., an assistant professor of research in the Pediatric Obesity and Health Behavior Lab at Pennington Biomedical, who is working to find creative ways to improve children’s health.
“We know that if we can help children develop healthy habits such as moving more when they are younger, they are more likely to continue those habits past adolescence into adulthood,” said Staiano.
According to Staiano, the first step to helping kids move more is understanding why they aren’t already moving enough. That’s why she is leading the TIGER Kids research study, which is researching ways to increase kids’ physical activity and decrease sedentary behavior to improve their overall health.
During the course of the study, Staiano and her team are using state-of-the-art technology like activity trackers and global positioning systems (GPS) to follow kids’ physical activity patterns for seven days to learn more about what prevents them from being active and what motivates them to move more. Kids in the study will also use a mobile phone app to share more information with researchers about who they are with and what they are doing—for example, spending time at the park with friends—when they are most physically active.
“This is a great way for me to teach my daughter about healthy habits,” said Brandy Davis, whose daughter, Ariamarie, is participating in the TIGER Kids study. “Both my son and I have been a part of research studies at Pennington Biomedical before, and we have really gotten some great health information from participating in those studies. My daughter was so excited to be a part of the TIGER Kids study because she is fascinated by the activity trackers and all the great information she’ll get about her own activity levels.”
Staiano said the TIGER Kids study is still looking for children between the ages of 10 and 16 to participate in the study. In addition to great health information they can share with their doctor, participants who complete the study will also receive compensation for their time.
TIGER Kids Study with Pennington Biomedical
The TIGER Kids research study will evaluate ways to: increase kids’ physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior (help kids move more and sit less), encourage healthy eating, and assess other factors that may influence school performance, body image, stress and mood.
TIGER Kids participants will also receive valuable health information at no cost. Each participant is eligible to receive a copy of:
- their lab work; including blood sugar and cholesterol tests;
- a printout of their DXA scan, which includes total body fat, total muscle mass, total lean mass and bone density readings; and
- a copy of body measurement data including height, weight, waist circumference, body mass index, blood pressure and heart rate.
To qualify, participants in this study should:
- Be between 10 and 16 years old
- Not be on a restrictive diet
Total compensation for the completion of this study is $100.
Parents, are you ready to see if your child qualifies for the TIGER Kids study? Visit http://www.pbrc.edu/TIGERKids to screen online or call 225-763-3000.