Health Team

Study: Children need to get moving

Posted July 15, 2008

— There is new information about your children and the exercise they need, but may not be getting.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, children should have a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day.

Pediatrician Dr. Philip Nader and a research team followed more than 1,000 children over 6 years of age. The kids wore activity monitors around their waists, devices that tracked their activity levels for about a week.

“I was kind of surprised at the sharpness of the decline and how the amount of activity just kept getting smaller and smaller as the children got older,” Nader said.

At 9 years old, children engaged in three hours of moderate to vigorous activity per day on both weekdays and weekends. By age 15, it was down to 49 minutes on weekdays and 35 minutes on weekend days.

“I think it's probably due to the environment that's not supporting activity," Nader added.

Researchers said they believed increased traffic, neighborhoods with fewer parks and cuts in school recess time contributed to the decline.

“My friends and I like to go to the movies and we also like to go on MySpace (the Web site) together,” teen Danielle Pupa said.

“We like to play video games about four or five hours a day,” Nick Pupa said.

The risk is that with children not getting enough exercise, they run a greater risk of being overweight and carrying a host of health concerns into adulthood.

Researchers said the findings should be a call to action for parents, physicians and health care providers to do their part to get children to become more physically active.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Shadow213 Jul 17, 2008

    6strings...i agree...why did we need to research this? when kids are younger, they play tag and cops and robbers...they build forts and ride bicycles or scooters. they jump on trampolines. etc etc. as you get older, people do less of these "childhood games" and more tv, movies, video games, going for coffee/dinner with friends, playing guitar...all things that are of less physical activity. the physical activity we DO have is structured-- gym workouts, team practice. it's not the same.

  • zProt Jul 16, 2008

    Those darn kids!

  • wiseowl Jul 16, 2008

    Make it safe for kids to play outside and parents will see it as a viable option again. Kids (and moms) are getting abducted left and right. Can you blame the parents for making this compromise? I'd rather have my kid playing video games at home than risk them vanishing.

  • 6strings Jul 16, 2008

    It cracks me up when "research" is needed for something like this. Just go to any public place with children...there's your research. It's just sad what's happening to our children. There is no excuse and it all starts in the home. Wake up parents!

  • DrJ Jul 16, 2008

    something2, I hear what you're saying, but I think you've pointed to a real problem with parental thinking these days: we have got to stop thinking we've got to keep kids excited and entertained all the time!

    I had a great childhood. You say swimming gets old? No one told me that when I was young, so I spent the entire summer - every summer - at the pool. I now look on those summers as some of the best times of my life. When it was summer, the rest of the kids in the neighborhood and I would get together and play games. Hide and seek, basketball, four square, etc., it didn't matter. We played them all, and our parents often got "angry" when they couldn't call us in right away.

    If we took away some of the "exciting" things like video games, you can bet our kids would find other things to keep themselves entertained. And when they start to see playing outside and swimming as the best alternatives, they'll start to enjoy them more.

  • something2say Jul 16, 2008

    This isn't new news! Common sense says this but few people pay attention.

    As a parent, I have to come up with new and engaging ways to get my children outside and moving! Swimming, biking, hiking, they all get old after awhile! Kids want exciting things to do and it is up to us a parents to get them involved.

  • Wags Jul 16, 2008

    “We like to play video games about four or five hours a day,” Nick Pupa said.

    No wonder our kids are fat. Mom and Dad are just as lazy then.