Fat is a child fitness issue
The heart rates of adults are measured after intensive exercise for a given period of time, but studies of 8 to 10-year-old children at Glan Gegin Garndd primary school, Bangor, have shown that children only exercise intensively in short bursts.
After encouraging the children to walk, run, hop and play with a ball, human physiology lecturer Roger Eston found that slimmer, fitter children had lower heart rates than their fatter classmates.
In an attempt to find a more accurate method of measuring pupils' fitness, Dr Eston gave each child a heart-rate monitor and devices to measure total body movement and number of steps taken.Dr Eston says these provided a more accurate picture of a child's activity and enabled him to prove conclusively for the first time the commonly-held belief that fat children are less fit than their slimmer classmates.
Researchers will now try to establish the optimum level of fitness for 8 to 10-year-olds, which parents and teachers can then use as a guide.