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Kicking a footballI have recently written about some of the risks of childhood obesity, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. I’ve also written about some of the possible causes of this growing problem [no pun intended], but how do we reverse this worrying trend?

We all know that regular exercise is important for good health, but when it comes to cutting the risk of becoming overweight or obese, playing one sport may not enough for teens, according to a new study.

Dartmouth College researchers found that teens who played at least two sports in high school were less likely to be obese than those who played just one sport or no sports, NBC News reported.

And the more sports teams, the better. TIME reported that if a teen played at least three sports, he or she had a 27 percent decreased risk of being overweight and a 39 percent decreased risk of being obese, compared with the non sports-playing peers.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, included 1,718 high-schoolers in New Hampshire and Vermont, who were asked about their participation on team sports, physical education, how much time they spent watching TV or on a computer, how much time they spent being active just for fun, whether they walked or rode bikes to school and what they ate.

Of all those students, 29 percent were considered overweight or obese, and 13 percent were considered obese.

The researchers found that if a teen played on at least two sports teams, the prevalence of obesity would go down by 26.1 percent, according to the findings.

Plus, if teens walked or rode their bikes to school for at least four days a week, the prevalence of obesity would go down by 22.1 percent, the study said.

Therefore, “obesity prevention programs should consider strategies to increase team sport participation among all students,” the researchers wrote in the study.

This isn’t the only research to show the detrimental effects of not exercising enough. A new study in the journalThe Lancet showed that four out of five teens aren’t getting enough exercise, not to mention about a third of adults around the world.

That study, conducted by researchers from the Universidade Federal de Pelotas in Brazil, showed that this inactivity could raise the risk of conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes by 20 to 30 percent.

“Although the technological revolution has been of great benefit to many populations throughout the world, it has come at a major cost in terms of the contribution of physical inactivity to the worldwide epidemic of noncommunicable diseases,” study researcher Pedro C. Hallal said in a statement. “Societal trends are leading to less not more activity than previously, [and] with few exceptions, health professionals have been unable to mobilize governments and populations to take physical inactivity sufficiently seriously as a public health issue.”

Year Without Beer

Never mind the Olympics, 2012 is my Year Without Beer! I am spending all 366 days of this leap year alcohol free in an attempt to raise money for 2 charities that are both very close to my heart.

If giving up all alcohol for a year isn’t enough of a challenge to make you dig deep and show your support, I also plan to run 500 miles! As part of my running challenge I am signed up to run a quarter marathon, 10 mile road race (Great South Run) and 8 mile off road challenge (The Grim Original).

If you want to show some love them please donate to my year without beer and give your support to one of these fantastic causes:

  • To donate to Cancer Research UK please click here to visit my just giving page or donate by text – send AYWB66 and the amount to 70070. For example, texting “AYWB66 £5″ will donate £5.
  • To donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust please click here to visit my just giving page or donate by text – send AYWB55 and the amount to 70070. For example, texting “AYWB55 £5″ will donate £5.