AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Who doesn’t love soft drinks? Very few people, that’s who. Some people are quite happy having one or two soft drinks a week, others can’t go a day without at least one can, and some can’t go a day without at least two litres. Sadly, the regular drinkers, the ones that keep the soft drink companies in business, are usually kids.

Many, many studies have looked into the effects of sugar-laden drinks on health. None of the results have been good. They’re terrible for teeth and they’re just about the fastest way to pick up weight. They increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and, according to one of the latest studies to come out of Perth, Western Australia they also increase the risk of heart disease.

What is too much?

It doesn’t take much to increase your risk of heart disease. According to the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, all it takes is one or more cans of cold drink a day. So, if you’re chugging two to three cans a day, or swigging back litre after litre of delicious sweetness, then you’re putting your future healthy in jeopardy.

The findings are part of a long-term study that includes more than 1400 teenage participants. Apparently, one soft drink lowers good cholesterol and increases triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood. This, in turn, increases the risk of heart disease.

You might assume that the danger is greater for youngsters who are overweight, but that is not the case. The effects compound over time, gradually increasing the chances of suffering from type diabetes and cardio-metabolic disease. And, of course, the children are also likely to become obese, which leads to various other health problems.

It gets worse

Over the past decade or so, studies have also shown that children all over the world are leading more sedentary lives. They spend most of their days in front of a screen, either a computer, laptop, gaming console, or smartphone, and very little time outdoors playing games and enjoying sport. For a while, it seemed that Australia might be immune to the problem. After all, the country is sports mad and the climate is about as conducive to outdoor activities as it’s possible to get.

Perhaps this makes the results of a study by the University of Western Australia’s School of Sport Science and Exercise and Health even more alarming. In 2008, it was found that fewer than 10% of girls in Western Australia got enough exercise to ensure good health, while about 40% of boys got enough exercise to be considered healthy. Dr. Louise Naylor, from the school, said that the levels are probably much worse by now.

It doesn’t help that when children do exercise, they seem to do it under duress and get very little joy out of it.

Could video games save the day?

Video games are blamed for a lot of children’s health problems, largely because they keep kids indoors, guzzling junk food and chugging soft drinks. But, they might not be as evil as all that. A recent report published in the Journal of Paediatrics has revealed that exergaming’ can lead to better health in children. The study was a joint venture between the University of Western Australia, Liverpool John Moores University, and Swansea University. The study group was quite small (only 15 children), but it goes a little way towards proving that video games aren’t all bad. To get really beneficial results, however, children have to engage in high intensity exergaming. Exergaming has a particularly good impact on vascular health.

Moreover, it seems that kids enjoy exergaming more than they do actually going outside to get exercise, and while this may not exactly thrill parents, it should at least give them a little peace of mind.

So, what does all this mean?

Well, it means that parents needs to stop stocking their fridges with soft drinks and start encouraging their kids to drink water while they’re getting their fitness on with their Wii and Xbox-Kinects.

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Jemima Winslow loves her soft drinks, but she loves her exercise too. In the interests of disseminating health information she recommends an online education portal, that promotes TAFE courses in Perth, including healthcare certificates and diplomas.

Categories: General

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