Children May Walk, Not Run to Burn Fat
Walking Speed Doesn't Increase Fat Burning Among Overweight Children
Jan. 10, 2005 -- Walking faster may not translate into faster weight loss
among obese children, according to a new study.
Researchers found increasing walking speed did not cause fat oxidation,
otherwise known as "fat burning," to speed up among a group of
overweight boys between the ages of 9 and 11.
Instead, the study showed that the highest fat and carbohydrate burning
occurred at a walking speed of about 2.5 miles per hour.
Based on those findings, researchers say that a moderately intense exercise
program may be recommended to overweight children as a feasible way to treat
Walk Slow, Burn Fat
In the study, researchers compared fat burning rates at different walking
speeds among 24 overweight boys with an average body mass index (BMI, a measure
of weight in relation to height) of 25.5. A BMI over 25 is considered
overweight and a BMI over 30 is considered obese.
The results appear in the January issue of The Journal of Clinical
Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The maximum fat burning rate was found at a moderate walking speed of about
2.5 miles per hour (4 kilometers/hour). Increasing the walking speed to 5
kilometers/hour or 6 kilometers/hour did not substantially increase the fat
Although the boys burned more carbohydrates when they increased their
walking speed, researchers found the moderate walking pace promoted the highest
fat to carbohydrate burning ratio, which is recommended for weight loss.
Researchers say that obesity causes the body to get energy from other
sources rather than fat, which causes fat to build up. But exercise stimulates
fat burning and helps promote weight loss.
Based on these results, researchers say it may be more reasonable to
prescribe and encourage low-intensity exercise, which is more feasible and
acceptable to obese children, than to insist on more intense exercise programs
that may not provide any additional fat-burning benefits.