According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health our kids just aren’t getting the recommended amount of daily exercise or eating enough fruits and vegetables. The study states that only half the kids ages 11-16 got five or more days of physical activity and only one in three ate fruits and vegetables every day.
The Journal of Adolescent Health study , researchers interviewed 10,000 students ages 11 to 16 about the amount of time they spent exercising each day and what kinds of foods-healthy or unhealthy- they ate. The researchers discovered that they could split the students up into three general categories: healthful (27 percent), unhealthful(26 percent) and typical (47 percent).
In the healthful group only 65 percent of the kids exercised for at least five days a week which was still better than the typical or unhealthful groups. But this group was more likely than the others to eat daily produce and stayed away from junk food.
The typical and the unhealthful group spent far more time at sedentary activities and ate little in the way of fruits and vegetables. While the typical group didn’t eat much produce they also didn’t eat a lot of junk food, while the unhealthful group spent the most time among all the groups at sedentary activities and ate the most junk food.
While the findings aren’t particularly surprising they seem to say more about the job we are doing as parents in protecting the health of our kids than an indictment of the children’s lifestyle. I know that many of us are busy and often whats for breakfast or dinner seems like the last thing on your to do list and forcing teenagers to exercise is like trying to get a cat to take a quick dip in the pool. But these things will effect the long term quality of our children’s lives and need to be made a priority. With childhood obesity rates on the rise, it’s time for us as parents to lead the way for our children’s current and future health.