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Physical Activity Levels Among Teens Declining

Girls have lower activity levels.

Teenage girls playing volleyball to increase physical activity levels

Physical activity levels among American teens are declining. University of Georgia researchers in Athens found that 75% of U.S. high-school students do not meet daily physical activity levels. Females are less active than males—35% of girls meet activity guidelines compared with 57% of boys. There is good news, however. Researchers found that when school environments were more supportive of exercise, the situation improved. Bullying is a particular concern.

“The length of recess, physical facilities and social environments at schools have been found to affect physical activity among students,” said lead study author Janani R. Thapa, PhD, associate professor of health policy and management at University of Georgia. “For example, female students who are active in sports and physically active may not fit the gender norm and hence may face bullying.”

The study is published in Journal of Adolescence (2022; 94 [4], 642–55).

See also: Helping Teens With Obesity

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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