Sedentary lifestyles don’t discriminate according to age, research states. Both young and old Americans continue living with little to no physical activity.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health discovered that there is no difference in how much physical activity an American teen does compared to a 60-year-old, Tech Times reports. This indicates that more and more teen and kids are exerting less effort in exercising and doing physical activities than previously thought.
The team, led by Vadim Zipunnikov, combed through records of over 12,500 respondents of all ages who wore physical activity monitoring devices for one week, as part of health surveys conducted in 2003 to 2006.
The World Health Organization recommends around an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily for kids and teens. But Zipunnikov and the researchers found that many adolescents don’t even reach these recommendations, and have very low levels of physical activity.
For example, over 50% of girls and 25% of boys six to 11 years old don’t get 60 minutes of physical activity. This is the same for over 75% of girls and 50% of boys 12 to 19 years old.
The levels of physical activity appeared to increase in young adults during their 20s, then fell sharply again during midlife to adulthood. Zippunikov said,
Activity levels at the end of adolescence were alarmingly low. By age 19, they were comparable to 60-year-olds.
Across all age groups, males tended to be more active than females. But after midlife, the activity levels of men dropped significantly compared to those of women. Among the respondents over 60 years old, men were less physically active compared to women.
In addition, the researchers found that physical activity levels were different for age groups according to the time of day. In school-age kids, most physical activity happened in the afternoon, from 2:00 to 6:00 P.M.
The researchers think this information can help boost exercise and physical activity in teens by focusing on the times with the least activity happening, so that daily schedules can be shifted to accommodate more exercise.
The study was published in Preventive Medicine.