For teens, daily activity declines

By Lauren Edwards • Published: November 17th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

“Go outside and play!”

That’s a common childhood refrain. And spending time outdoors… playing hide-and-go-seek with the neighbors, climbing trees or chasing butterflies… is a big part of life for many youngsters.

But a recent study reveals that as kids grow older, their level of daily activity drops off dramatically, leading to concerns about their health.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, tracked one-thousand U-S children ages nine to fifteen from 2000 to 2006. The results are shocking: While average activity for a nine-year-old is three hours a day, it drops to less than one hour a day for fifteen-year-olds.

The study tracked participants using a device called an accelerometer, which attaches to a belt around the waist and records movement.

Up to age twelve, most children got the minimum level of exercise recommended by the government. Once they reach fifteen, however, a real drop-off is seen. Less than one-third got that level of activity during the week, and just seventeen percent reached such levels on weekends.

Maybe it’s the advent of computer games, Internet social networking sites or just plain laziness, but today’s teens aren’t getting the daily exercise they need. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are linked to a lack of exercise, making it so important for parents to help encourage activity in their children.

Whether it’s walking the dog, shooting hoops or just running around outside, it’s fun… and worth it… to move around, no matter what your age.