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One-third of U.S. youth are not physically fit
Detail: According to a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, approximately one-third of boys and girls, age 12 to 19, in the United States, do not meet standards for physical fitness. Dr. Russell R. Pate, of the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health led the study that was funded by a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Pate and colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Cooper Institute assessed the physical fitness of 3,287 youth ages 12 to 19 who participated in the government-conducted National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2002.

The study found that older males were more physically fit than younger males, while the opposite was true for females. Participants who reported more sedentary behavior, such as watching television or playing video games, and those who spent less time being physically active were more likely not to be physically fit. The study also found that physically fit young people are less likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or other risk factors for chronic diseases. Moreover low physical fitness during adolescence tends to track into adulthood, and adults who are less physically active are at a substantially increased risk for chronic disease morbidity (illness) and mortality (death).

The study recommended supporting fitness among all youth and called on physicians to counsel children and parents about guidelines for physical activity, and schools to offer more physical education programs.
Date: October 22 2006