Less than one quarter of children in the US are getting enough exercise, according to a report by LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center. The 2016 US Report Card on Physical Activity for Children finds that less than 22% of children ages 6 to 19 meet the physical activity guidelines.
Researcher Peter Katzmarzyk thinks that’s because of a drive to be more efficient.
“We don’t have to walk anywhere. We can drive cars. We can do everything now on our phones, and kids aren’t even getting physical activity in school like they used to,” Katzmarzyk said.
The report found that less than 13% of children walk or ride their bikes to school, and nearly 63% of children are getting too much screen time per day. Katzmarzyk says parents don’t seem to want their kids outside as much as they used to. He says if we want kids to be active, we have to make sure that it is a safe environment.
“I think it all starts with developing the community infrastructure to allow parks and trails to be open and to be safe in the community,” Katzmarzyk said.
Katzmarzyk says physical activity is integral to our health, not only as children but as adults as well. He says a lack of exercise at an early age will lead to health problems in the future.
“We’re going to see higher chronic disease rates as these kids become adults. We’re going to see higher levels of obesity and these kinds of things,” Katzmarzyk said.