"Youth-Nex" Part of Health Conference Focusing on Adolescents
Experts from around the
country are coming to the University of Virginia Thursday to tackle issues of
exercise and nutrition for adolescents.
Youth-Nex is a program in The Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, a part of
UVA's Curry School of Education, which focuses on the health and well-being of
young people. Their annual conference gets underway Thursday, bringing together
top scholars, policy makers, and practitioners in the field.
At this year's conference,
experts will discuss strategies to increase physical activity at home and in
schools, as well as how to increase healthy eating for kids. They will also
talk about injury prevention and injury treatment, since kids do get hurt often
Youth-Nex says the number
of kids taking physical education in school has decreased since the early '90s
and more American kids are overweight now than ever before.
"The findings in this
area are not very good. We have an explosion of childhood obesity. Upwards of,
depending on the age group, 15 to 20 percent of adolescents are now classified
as being obese, as opposed to five percent 20 years ago," said conference
chair Arthur Weltman. "Our gene pool hasn't changed in the last 20 years,
so other things must have happened. Either environmentally, you know we have
portion distortion, and we've basically engineered physical activity out of
Conference organizers say
it's critical to target youth because habits formed in adolescents shapes
behavior long into adulthood. They say if kids get active now, while still
young, it reduces their chances of obesity, depression, and chronic diseases
Weltman said the goal of
the conference is to use what they learn to get individuals and communities to
make better choices.
The conference is Thursday
and Friday in Alumni Hall on grounds at UVA.
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