Couch Culture: Only a Quarter of U.S. Youth Get Recommended Exercise

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It’s no surprise that kids don’t exercise, but the first national survey documented exactly how inactive American children are.

In 2008, the U.S. government issued its first guidelines for physical activity, based on studies indicating which exercises people should try and how long they should be active in order to improve their health. The recommendations included daily physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity for 60 minutes for children. But in the latest analysis of how well the advice is being followed, the National Center for Health Statistics found that only about 24.8% of youth surveyed in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)’s National Youth Fitness Survey got the recommended amount.

Young boys were more physically active than girls — 27% of boys met the guidelines compared to 22.5% of girls. Among boys, basketball was the most common way to exercise, followed by running, football and bike riding. For girls, running was the most common form of exercise, followed by walking, basketball and dancing.

The survey also revealed some unsurprising patterns between physical activity and weight; the percentage of boys who exercised dropped as their weight increased, confirming the vicious cycle between inactivity and obesity.

That suggests that public health campaigns such as First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort might make heavier kids a priority, since they face greater challenges in exercising. With one out of every three children in the U.S. now overweight or obese, the survey authors say encouraging more kids to become active is critical to reducing their risk of becoming adults with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

4 comments
hoti--ethem
hoti--ethem

braviisimo  auguri  tanto   sej  brava..

Janette
Janette

Really. Public Health Campaigns. Really. How about parents take responsibility for raising their own offspring. My mother did not buy the junk, so it wasn't in the house for us to eat. Furthermore, my parents told us what to do, not the other way around. One example of them telling us what to do was when they told us go outside and play, even if all we wanted to stay inside doing nothing. Blaming society, schools not teaching, peer pressure, unhealthy school lunches, lack of programs, no playgrounds, vending machines, soft drink companies, MacDonald's or whatever sure takes the burden off those actually responsible - the parents. You know, the elder/adult/grown-up ones in this scenario.

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Raion
Raion

@Janette 

While I agree with most of your sentiments, what about the children who live in a high risk neighborhoods (i.e., lots of crime and violence)?- that's when it can be a societal problem if there is no safe place to play (can't particularly blame the kid). If the neighborhoods can be more kid friendly and the underlying root problems can be addressed, then why not?

Plus, not every person has the luxury of a local market, a means of transportation to get there (or the time to take the bus if the location is far away due to multiple jobs, other life duties, etc.), or the nutritional education and cooking skills necessary to plan out a healthier diet. If foods companies are postulating that their products are nutritional and full of vitamins, not every person will know how to assess a food label to perceive that the item is in fact nothing but corn syrup with a scoop of ascorbic acid thrown in for that 1% vitamin C it's touting.