Laurens Coppens, student of Food Technology, presented the results of more than a year of research into the effects of exercise and sugar consumption by grade-school kids on the levels of glycosylated proteins (AGE’s) in the skin of the forearm. One of the most important conclusions of this research is that an hour of exercise a day compensates the sugar consumption of grade-school kids. Coppens’ research was an assignment from the professorship Food Health & Safety.
More than a hundred kids of two grade schools in Leeuwarden took part in the research. Their eating and exercising patterns have been thoroughly tested. The research shows that mainly sugars in soft drinks, lemonade, fruit juice and sweetened dairy drinks push the AGE-scores up, which in theory may increase the risk of diabetes and lifestyle diseases. The research also shows that regular exercise (gym class two times a week plus extracurricular exercise) can compensate the negative effects of an increased sugar consumption on the AGE-score. A remarkable result was the fact that kids with a low sugar consumption and high exercise activity (daily gym class plus extracurricular exercise) did not show a better AGE-score.
High concentrations of AGE’s in the skin are considered to be an important warning for the development of Type-2 diabetes. AGE’s develop slowly inside the body and are a normal sign of ageing, but they develop more rapidly with an unhealthy lifestyle, high carb consumption and a lot of sitting. These AGE’s can be easily measured in the skin of the forearm, using an AGE Reader (Diagnostics, Groningen). This device is regularly used for risk evaluation with adults or check-ups with diabetics. Laurens’ research shows that the AGE Reader can also be used as an easy instrument to evaluate the lifestyle of kids.
Recently, the discussion regenerated about allowing sweetened drinks at schools. According to Laurens’ research, exercise should be an important factor in that discussion. An hour a day already helps a lot. The AGE Reader offers schools an opportunity to quickly gain insight in their exercise policy and the sugar consumption of their pupils.
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