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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Colorado: Study Finds Troubling New Evidence of Teens’ Lack of Physical Activity

A Colorado School of Public Health at Colorado State University (CSU) researcher has uncovered definitive evidence about adolescents’ lack of physical activity, and the results are not good.

Instead of relying on surveys and self-reporting, as many past studies have done, Dr. Kaigang Li, assistant professor of CSU’s department of health and exercise science and the Colorado School of Public Health used physical activity trackers called accelerometers to objectively measure the duration and intensity of exercise that a sample of 16- to 19-year-olds were getting daily.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a day for children and adolescents to maintain general health. Activity levels can be a reliable predictor of future health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Previous research has shown that only .04 percent of 9-year-olds don’t get that amount of exercise daily, a figure that jumps to 70 percent for 15-year-olds.

Dr. Li found that, on average, his sample of kids in their late teens were exercising even less: 91 percent were not getting at least an hour of that type of physical activity each day.

“It’s a huge problem,” he said. “Parents and schools need to be doing more to help kids make exercise part of their daily life.”

An article on Dr. Li’s study, “Changes in Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity Among Older Adolescents,” was published in Pediatrics on September 26.

Read the full story here.