FMT Warning & “Get Your Butt in Gear” –Less Than 10% of Kids Meeting Guidelines for Healthy Movement

To lessen obesity, three health risk behaviors have been targeted:

  • Sedentary behavior -goal is to limit to 2 hours of screen time in 24 hours
  • Physical activity -goal is 1 hour (or more) of moderate to vigorous activity
  • Sleep duration -goal is 9-12 hours (ages 6-12 years) and 8-10 hours (13-18 years)

A recent study (X Zhu et al. J Pediatr 2020; 218: 204-9) shows that <10% of U.S. kids meet these goals.  The authors examined data (2016-17) from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) dataset (n=71,811)

Key findings:

  • 80.9% did NOT meet physical activity goal
  • 76.2% did meet screen time goal
  • 581% did meet sleep goal
  • However, only 9.4% met all 3 goals
  • Not meeting these ‘movement’ guidelines was associated with obesity, particularly in females (aOR 4.97 compared to aOR 3.99 for males)

My take: We are all made to be different shapes and sizes.  Nevertheless, we should strive for healthy behaviors and healthy eating which could improve outcomes.

Exercise and Income/Race/Gender in U.S.

Thanks again to Ben Gold for another good read: S Armstrong et al. JAMA Pediatr 2018; 172(8): 732-40.

This study provides a great deal of information on the physical activity of adolescents and young adults (age group 12-29) from 2007-2016 using NHANES data from 9472 participants.  The relationship of physical activity compared with income, race and gender is explored.


  • The current recommendation is for adolescents to engage in a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day.  At age 20, adult guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity  or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activity per week.
  • In previous studies, one-third of adults do not meet the recommended amount of physical activity

Key findings:

  • Percentage of individuals reporting any moderate or vigorous activity: 87.9% for age 12-17 y, 72.6% for age 18-24 y, and 70.7% for age 25-29 y.
  • Mean time for moderate or vigorous activity: For males: 71.1 min or age 12-17 y, 64.3 min for age 18-24 y, and 50.3 min for age 25-29 y. For females: 56.0 min or age 12-17 y, 44.9 min for age 18-24 y, and 39.2 min for age 25-29 y.
  • Younger age, white race, and higher income were associated with greater physical activity.  The breakdown on the specifics are listed in the five Tables.

The limitations of this study include that the data are cross-sectional and do not prove causality.  In addition, the data are self-reported and some groups may over- or under-report activity.

My take: This study shows that a lot of young individuals are not physically-active whihc increases the risk of some chronic diseases.  Examining the groups that have higher and lower physical activity may help understand ways towards improvement.

During a recent trip to Charlottesville, I came across this article. Someone is identifying dog poops with Nicholas Cage’s face –to highlight the problem?  Funny stuff.

What helps kids poop?

While there are a number of answers to the above title, the answer that I’m looking for is physical activity (JPGN 2013; 57: 768-74).

With regard to the referenced study, a large prospective birth-cohort study (n=347 participants) in Rotterdam showed that preschool children with increased physical activity had about 1/3rd less frequency of functional constipation in the fourth year of life.  Activity measurements at the age of 2 years were accomplished by wearing ActiGraph accelerometers during 1 weekday and 1 weekend day.  Additionally, children who had physical activity of 60 min/day at age 4 had about 1/2 the likelihood of having functional constipation.  There are several limitations to the study; reduced activity and constipation could both be present in some individuals as a consequence of personality or psychologic attributes rather than physical activity having a causal relationship in causing constipation.

Bottomline: Another good reason to encourage physical activity –it might help with regular bowel habits.

Also, on a separate note, a recent blog post by Kipp Ellsworth is a useful reference for lab monitoring (micronutrients and vitamins) in children with short bowel syndrome:

Blog | The Pediatric Nutritionist | Covering the world of infant, child 

Related blog entries:


IBD Update 2014 (part 2)

5. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2013; 19: 2927-36.  This reference is another article that tries to help discuss the risks and benefits of biologic therapy for pediatric inflammatory bowel disease.  After reviewing the potential risks, the authors provide their “Option Grid” (Page 2932).  The authors state, “in summary, the adult literature supports the concept of the early use of combination therapy…the risks associated with anti-TNF therapy are really not significantly different as compared with thiopurine therapy and perhaps in some cases safer.  Therefore, we should be moving closer to the idea of using anti-TNF therapy early, with or without an immunomodulator.  In the sickest patients, combination therapy probably adds benefit, and then once in remission, consideration can be given for stopping one of the medications, more likely the thiopurine.

6. Gut 2013; 62: 689-94.  Risk of ischemic heart disease in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: a nationwide Danish cohort study.  From 1997 to 2009, the authors compared 28,833 IBD persons to >4.5 million persons without IBD who were matched for age, gender, socioeconomic status, and calendar year.  With a mean follow-up of 13 years, they identified a 59% higher incidence rate of ischemic heart disease in patients with IBD.  Long-term use of immunosuppressive medications, such as azathioprine and anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha agents, was not associated with an increased risk of ischemic heart disease.

7.   Gastroenterol 2013; 145: 1459-63.  AGA Guideline for Use of Thiopurines, Methotrexate, and Ant-TNF-alpha Biologic Drugs for the Induction and Maintenance of Remission in Inflammatory Crohn’s Disease. This reference was previously noted in blog (with a link) AGA Guidelines for the Use of Thiopurines and Anti  – gutsandgrowt.  The print version does have a nice algorithm (pg 1463).  The accompanying technical review: Gastroenterol 2013; 145: 1464-78.

8. BMJ 2013;347:f6633. Free full-text BMJ article PDF. (Thanks to Mike Hart for this reference) From the abstract:  During 3 421 972 person years of follow-up, we documented 284 cases of Crohn’s disease and 363 cases of ulcerative colitis. The risk of Crohn’s disease was inversely associated with physical activity (P for trend 0.02). Compared with women in the lowest fifth of physical activity, the multivariate adjusted hazard ratio of Crohn’s disease among women in the highest fifth of physical activity was 0.64 (95% confidence interval 0.44 to 0.94). Active women with at least 27 metabolic equivalent task (MET) hours per week of physical activity had a 44% reduction (hazard ratio 0.56, 95% confidence interval 0.37 to 0.84) in risk of developing Crohn’s disease compared with sedentary women with ❤ MET h/wk. Physical activity was not associated with risk of ulcerative colitis (P for trend 0.46). The absolute risk of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease among women in the highest fifth of physical activity was 8 and 6 events per 100 000 person years compared with 11 and 16 events per 100 000 person years among women in the lowest fifth of physical activity, respectively. Age, smoking, body mass index, and cohort did not significantly modify the association between physical activity and risk of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease (all P for interaction >0.35). Conclusion In two large prospective cohorts of US women, physical activity was inversely associated with risk of Crohn’s disease but not of ulcerative colitis.

Comment: While physical activity may directly reduce the risk of Crohn’s disease, it could also be an epiphenomenon of another unmeasured variable (eg. dietary habits) that modifies this risk.

Related blog post:

Understanding IBD Therapy Risks -A Good Link | gutsandgrowth  Provides link to useful 6-minute internet video for families.