The Facts:

  • Daily physical education participation in schools is at an all-time low of 28%.  

  • More than half of American children watch three to five hours of TV each day. Often, TV viewing replaces physical activity, and kids are inundated with commercials that advertise unhealthy, processed foods.  

  • Almost one third of high school students do not meet the minimum recommended requirements for physical activity in a given week.

Consequences of Inactivity:

  • The prevalence of obesity among children ages 6 to 11 more than doubled in the past 25 years, going from 6.5% in 1980 to 17% in 2006. The rate among adolescents aged 12 to 19 more than tripled, from 5% to 17.6%. 

  • Short-term consequences of inactivity include weight gain; long-term consequences include diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

  • Habits acquired in childhood often continue into adulthood, so children and adolescents who are overweight have a greater likelihood of being overweight or obese in adulthood.

Benefits of Being Active:

  • Helps build and maintain healthy bones and muscles. 

  • Raises the metabolism (the rate at which the body burns calories) and helps the body burn calories more effectively even when at rest. 

  • Boosts emotional health; increases our sense of well-being; relieves stress, anxiety, and depression, due in part to the release of endorphins, natural painkillers created by the brain. 

  • Keeping up an exercise habit and reaching exercise goals promotes a sense of well-being and pride in kids. 

From the New York Road Runners’ Fact Sheets

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