Teens Really Don't Get Enough Exercise
A new study has found that U.S. teens are only active for roughly 39.4 minutes a day, well below the 60 minutes recommended by U.S. government health agencies.
More than half that, 23 minutes, took place at schools, which are a major factor in teens sedentary lifestyles, according to The New York Times.The study was published in the medical journal Pediatrics.
It is estimated that only 1 in 10 U.S. adolescents get the recommended daily amount of exercise, and the study was carried out to see where teenagers are at their most active so that programs and other measures to get children exercising more could be developed.
The study was based on an evaluation of a previous study called Teen Environment and Neighborhood. The TEN study between 2009 and 2011 looked at 928 adolescents aged 12 to 16 that lived in either urban or suburban neighborhoods in Seattle, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. A third of the subjects were minorities while the division of the sexes was roughly even.
The subjects wore belt with a GPS device that logged their location every 30 seconds and an accelerometer that measured their physical activity. The GPS helps to eliminate the uncertainty that can come from self reporting, when subjects can sometimes misremember or forget to record their activity throughout the day.
Students had to wear the belt for one day during the week and one day on the weekend to be included in the study. They worse the belt for an average of seven days.
The study found that only 4.8 percent of the school day was devoted to activity, despite the fact that adolescents spend 42 percent of their waking hours at school. The study also found that girls were less active than boys, and students were most active in the neighborhoods around their homes.