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Weighted Toys

Some scientists say putting a extra weight in toys can put a little more exercise into your kids' playtime.

a little girl plays in a cardboard box

Photo: mollypop (flickr)

Why not get the little ones started on a higher exercise life early?

By now, everyone knows Americans have a problem. We’re overweight!

Even children are suffering from the adverse effects. Ten to fifteen percent of kids are overweight, and childhood diabetes is on the rise. Now, researchers at Indiana State University have an idea for something that might help: give kids heavier toys.

In a study including five girls and five boys, all of whom were around seven years old, kids were given big cardboard blocks to play with. Some kids got blocks that weighed a quarter of a pound, while others got blocks that secretly had a metal weight inside, making them weigh almost three and a half pounds.

The kids carried the blocks a short distance, about 26 feet, and set them down again. In a second trial, the kids who got the heavy blocks were given light ones, and vice versa. Sure enough, heavy-block kids were found to have increased heart rate and oxygen uptake after their play session when compared to the light-blockers. These are good signs, because you want to exert your body in order to aid in cardiovascular and skeletal health, and maintain good cholesterol levels.

Why not get the little ones started on a higher exercise life early?

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