AHA Study Highlights Declining Fitness In Current Generation - New York News

AHA Study Highlights Declining Fitness In Current Generation

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Today's kids can't keep up with their parents. An analysis of studies on millions of children around the world finds they don't run as fast or as far as their parents did when they were young.

On average, it takes children 90 seconds longer to run a mile (1.6 kilometer) than their counterparts did 30 years ago. Heart-related fitness has declined 5 percent per decade since 1975 for children ages 9 to 17.

The American Heart Association, whose conference featured the research on Tuesday, says it's the first to show that children's fitness has declined worldwide over the last three decades.

"It makes sense. We have kids that are less active than before," said Dr. Stephen Daniels, a University of Colorado pediatrician and spokesman for the heart association.

World Health Organization numbers suggest that 80 percent of young people globally may not be getting enough exercise.

Health experts recommend that children 6 and older get 60 minutes of moderately vigorous activity accumulated over a day. Only one-third of American kids do now.

"Many schools, for economic reasons, don't have any physical education at all," Daniels said.

Sam Kass, a White House chef and head of first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move program, told the conference on Monday, "We are currently facing the most sedentary generation of children in our history."

The new study was led by Grant Tomkinson, an exercise physiologist at the University of South Australia. Researchers analyzed 50 studies on running fitness -- a key measure of cardiovascular health and endurance -- involving 25 million children ages 9 to 17 in 28 countries from 1964 to 2010.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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