A sedentary lifestyle is often cited as a contributing factor behind obesity. However, recent research published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise counters that notion.
The study looked at obesity levels of children in three ethnic groups: Caucasian, African-American and Mexican-American. The children who were found to be most active had the highest obesity rates.
African-American children have higher obesity rates, but are also more active than their Caucasian counterparts.
Senior author and University of Southern California professor Donna Spruijt-Metz says the types of activities participated in may also affect weight.
"This paradox may be accounted for by the fact that non-Hispanic white youth may spend more time in activities not captured well by accelerometry, such as swimming or bicycling," says Spruijt-Metz.
Many experts recommend people get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. Such activities include taking a quick walk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's better to exercise in daily increments rather than in one time period during the week. Being active can help ward off health conditions and may consequently result in lower life insurance rates.