Study: Teens Skimp on the Exercise


When it comes to staying physically active, teenagers take a nosedive; 9-year olds get about 3 hours per day, while 15-year olds only get about 49 minutes during the week and even less on weekends. More from Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times:
While researchers have long believed that childhood activity wanes as kids enter their teen years, the study is unique because it followed about 1,000 children from around the country over time and used activity monitors to carefully track moderate to vigorous physical activity at various ages. The findings show clearly that even the most active young children experience a precipitous drop in physical activity as they hit puberty.

"I was surprised by the degree of the drop – it’s a dramatic shift,” said Dr. Philip R. Nader, emeritus professor of pediatrics at the University of California-San Diego. "Younger children appear to be naturally active, but as kids get older, they find fewer opportunities to be active.”

The activity study was part of the ongoing Study of Early Childcare and Youth Development, a 15-year look at the health of American children funded by the National Institutes of Health. Unlike many childhood activity studies, the latest research didn’t rely on parents to report a child’s activity. Instead the children wore accelerometers – devices that measure movement – for a week at a time during the ages of 9, 11, 12 and 15.

Overall, boys were more active than girls, moving on average, 18 more minutes a day. The age of 13 appeared to be a particularly vulnerable time – that’s the point for both boys and girls that weekend activity dropped below the 60 minute mark.
I’m not a parent, but I think it starts with the parents. My mom has always exercised A LOT and it certainly rubbed off on me. As early as 7th grade I started developing workout routines.
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