We’ve Got to Keep Our Kids Moving!

 

As the number of Americans who are overweight or obese continues to rise, there’s a lot of focus on teaching children and young adults healthier eating habits. Exercise is another area that could use some improvement.


JAMA Pediatrics recently published a study about how young adults are exercising less as they leave high school for college.  That declines is worse for our young girls, especially our young girls of color.  The study found that 88% of teenage boys and 78% of girls are physically active in high school.  Once they graduate, those numbers drop to 73% of boys and only 62% of girls and to 45% of girls of color.

The study points to many factors that cause this decline, including structured opportunities for physical activity outside of high school, different social expectations for behavior of boys and girls as they grow, and disparity of resources available to kids based on socio-economic status.

While institutions of higher learning and other areas that draw in young adults work on increasing opportunities for young adults to stay active, we need to make sure we’re investing in our young women.  We should be modeling healthy lifestyles by staying active, encouraging regular activity throughout childhood, the teenage years and young adulthood and by making sure the volleyball and ultimate frisbee games at family picnics are as much for our young women as they are for our young men. 

 

 


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