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CDC: One-Quarter of U.S. Youth Meet Physical Activity Guidelines

About 25 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds engage in 60 minutes daily moderate-to-vigorous exercise

THURSDAY, Jan. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Only one-quarter of U.S. youth aged 12 to 15 years meet reccomended physical activity guidelines by engaging in at least 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, according to a January data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Tala H.I. Fakhouri, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the NCHS in Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey to examine self-reported physical activity among youth aged 12 to 15 years.

The researchers found that about one-quarter (24.8 percent) of U.S. youth reported engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes daily in 2012. Among males, the percentage of youth who were physically active for at least 60 minutes daily decreased with increasing weight. Among active boys, the most common activity was basketball (48.0 percent), followed by running, football, bike riding, and walking. For active girls, the most common activity was running (34.9 percent), followed by walking, basketball, dancing, and bike riding.

"Given that physical inactivity in adulthood is a modifiable risk factor for many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, tracking the prevalence of physical activity among U.S. youth may help inform public health interventions," the authors write.

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Physician's Briefing