Professor Reilly's research team concluded that "physical activity is unlikely to have a significant effect in reducing levels of obesity among pre-school children".
How could the team reach this conclusion after so short a trial? Six and 12 months' findings are not enough to measure the efficacy of an intervention strategy. Physical activity in pre-school children is about developing lifelong healthy lifestyle habits. A study by Moore, Gao et al concluded that "higher levels of physical activity in childhood lead to the acquisition of less body fat by the time of early adolescence". Another study by Muller, Koertzinger et al found that "in five to seven-year-old children, overweight is associated with physical inactivity, unhealthy eating habits and a low social status".
The psychological, social and motor benefits of being active at any age are well known. Given the overwhelming evidence to disprove Professor Reilly's research, one wonders about the value of investment in it.
Andree Deane Chief executive officer Fitness Industry Association London