New Report Finds U.S. Kids Are Horribly Out of Shape

Most young kids and teenagers are out of shape, and their habits are to blame.

The  National Physical Activity Plan Alliance recently released its 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Youth and Children. And the results are dismal.

American children are performing horribly in fitness criteria across the board.

A few of the lowlights include:

  • Kids don't do enough intense activity. Only 43 percent of kids from ages 6 to 11 participate in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for 60 minutes on five days out of the week. And it gets worse as kids get older. The numbers drop to 8 percent for ages 12 to 15 and 5 percent for ages 16 to 19.

  • Kids get too much screen time. Fewer than half of kids spend two hours or less in front of a screen each days. It gets worse as kids get older, dropping to lower than a third.

  • Kids are out of shape. Only 50 percent of boys and 34 percent of girls are able to pass cardiorespiratory physical fitness standards.

Kids are developing poor habits from an early age that lead to unacceptable fitness scores. TV, video games and smartphones are often favored over playing outside or participating in sports.

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As young children become teenagers, the results get even worse. You can expect that teenagers will drop out of sports as they get older and opportunities to play decrease, but they're not replacing sports with other physical activity.

These results point to a serious problem. Kids are more unfit than ever, and they aren't developing the habits they need for lifelong health. They may be able to get away with sitting on the couch instead of being active while they're young, but there's a good chance this will catch up with them over time and contribute to increasing obesity and other health risks.

So put down your phone or video game controller and get outside, play a sport or lift some weights! It's time to break this trend!

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