A study released from John Hopkins University explained that in 1996, when 3,345 adolescent’s body mass was measured via the BMI test, 28% of those adolescents were overweight.
The same test was administered to the same adolescents, five years later, and the incidence of overweight teens had nearly doubled to 51%.
What is sad is that there is no complexity to the concept of adequate physical activity for teenagers. If an adolescent engages in physical activity for approximately one hour, at least two times a week, they are protected from becoming overweight. As videogames become more prevalent, and the internet continues to revolutionize communication methods and the way we think as human beings, the rate of physical activity in teenagers will continue to decrease.
If an adolescent is overweight or obese now, there is a 36% chance of being overweight or obese as a young adult.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), obesity costs our society $100 billion dollars annually but is also labeled as one of the easiest diseases to treat.
If teens today engaged in more physical activity, the number of overweight/obese teenagers would decrease significantly thus decreasing the prevalence of adult obesity in the future.
Why It Is Important
It is important in today’s society to continue to be physically active in order to maintain a healthy body. The Center for Disease Control states that in order to maintain a healthy body children and teenagers need an hour of physical activity/day, and several studies have found a positive association between the times spent viewing television and increased prevalence of obesity in children. However, the recommended hour of physical activity does not have to be all at one time. Doing smaller tasks throughout the day also count as physical activity; not exercise. To be more active in their lives’ teens need to find fun and easy ways to become more active: walk to school, ride a bike, play a sport, etc. The most important thing is to start developing healthy behaviors now that they can maintain throughout their lives.
Getting active is easier when smaller more realistic goals are made or when behaviors are supported by peers. So find a friend that has the same interest and get active! For more information on way to be more active and form healthy behaviors contact your local health department.
Teens today do not get enough exercise. The Center for Disease Control says that teens need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise daily. Unfortunately nearly 20% of teens in America today are considered to be clinically overweight or obese. Why is this? Teens today would rather spend time in front of a screen rather than getting much needed exercise. Health day news.com says that teens today have an average of 7 hours of “screen time” daily. This is compared to 1999 when teens spent about 3 hours a day of “screen time”. Screen time is considered any amount of time a person spends watching television, on a computer, or using any other kind of electronic media (video games).
Teens need more physical activity to avoid health problems in the future. Teens that are obese are extremely likely to become obese adults. This leads to many health problems such as: diabetes, cancers, and many cardiovascular diseases. Excessive time spent in front of a screen has its’ adverse effects. Research has shown that high levels of electronic media can lead to school problems, attention difficulties, sleep disorders, eating disorders, and obesity from a lack of physical activity. There are many other benefits to physical activity outside of the obvious obesity problems. Physical activity can help teens to: perform better in school, feel better about themselves, develop skills in sports, build strength and endurance, have more energy, sleep better, and physical activity is a wonderful to help deal with stress.
Teens, however, are not the only ones to blame. It is up to parents to do what they can to help their children become as healthy as they can. The CDC recommends that children have 2 hours or less of screen time per day. This means that parents must do what they can to make their child’s room electronic free, encourage alternative activities to screen time, and become active themselves.
One hour of daily exercise may seem like a lot, but it actually a lot easier to achieve than many believe. All 60 minutes do not need to be done at one time, but can be separated into several portions of the day. Sports are a great way to become active and develop other skills such as leadership and teamwork. However not everyone wants to play a sport because of time commitments or other various reasons. There are many other ways to get the amount of physical activity that you need. Some of the more simple ideas for daily activity include: take a walk, dance, walk the dog, ride a bike, take the stairs, play ball in the back yard, wash cars, do yard work, go swimming, take classes such as yoga or aerobics, weight lifting, go to the local park, or go in-line skating.
Is it Enough?
How do you know if your exercise is getting the job done? The “talk-sing” test is a great way to measure how intense the exercise is. If you can talk while exercising, then you’re doing great! If you are to breathless to talk, then you can slow it down a little bit. If you can sing during exercise, then you need to kick up the intensity! Before beginning any exercise program there are many important tips to remember. Consult a doctor if you are new to exercise. If you are new to exercise, don’t kill yourself on the first day. Start with ten minute intervals, and slowly work your way up to your desired time. To avoid injuries, make sure to stretch and warm up for at least ten minutes before performing any exercise. It is just as important to have ten minutes of cool down and stretching after exercise to avoid soreness the next day. Make sure to consume a lot of water, before, during, and after the workout to stay hydrated.
- Megan Rauscher (January 7, 2008). "Regular physical activity helps teens avoid obesity". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
- AACAP (March 2011). "Obesity in Children and Teens". American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Retrieved 2014-08-23.