Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Children Move Less as They Get Older

“By the time children reach their teens, their level of physical activity drops significantly, new research shows. Kids who were averaging three hours of moderate to vigorous activity when they were 9 barely manage to get more than a half-hour of daily exercise by the time they reach 15, according to a study in the July 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. ‘Kids' activity is decreasing dramatically between 9 and 15,’ said study author Dr. Philip Nader, professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of California at San Diego in La Jolla. Nader said the reasons for the drop are many. ‘There may be competing, more interesting things to do; physical education is being done away with in some places, and so is recess; there aren't as many open spaces or parks, and being outside is one of the main things that keeps people active,’ he said. Plus, children don't get the same routine daily activity that youngsters from a generation or two ago did. ‘Kids used to just run around and ride their bikes everywhere, and kids used to walk to school. Now, parents drive them,’ Nader noted. The lack of physical activity is linked to the growing problem of childhood obesity, and most experts recommend that children should be getting at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity each day, reports the study. Nader added that exercise should really be a family affair, and that parents need to model good exercise behavior.”

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