Very Few Children Get Enough Exercise
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise daily and should sit in front of a TV or computer screen for no more than 2 hours a day to maintain a healthy weight. However, researchers at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics found that only about two out of five elementary school children fulfill both criteria.
Tala Fakhouri, PhD, MPH, and colleagues report that although seven out of ten children engage in moderate-to-vigorous exercise daily for at least 60 minutes, and more than half sit in front of a screen for less than two hours, less than 40% meet both criteria, which is essential to maintaining good health.
Fakhouri and her team analyzed cross-sectional data on more than a thousand children ages 6 to 11 from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). In the survey, parents provided data on the quantity of exercise and time spent by their children watching TV, playing video games, or using the computer. The investigators also looked into their demographic information and found that children who were less likely to exercise for at least an hour a day included girls, those aged 9-11 years, obese kids, Hispanics, and those who had higher family income. Furthermore, older children, non-Hispanic blacks and obese children were more likely to spend more than two hours of screen-time daily compared with their peers.
In general, they found that children who were older and obese were less likely to meet both criteria. They also concluded that children who spent less time in front of the TV or computer did not necessarily mean that these children were physically active.
Neale, T. Many Kids Not Meeting Physical Activity Goals. MedPage Today.