Today in the United States, many people are not getting the required 60 minutes of physical activity per day that they should. With obesity rates rising throughout the country in adolescents, starting initiatives to promote a rise in number of people reaching this number would be immensely beneficial for the future of health in America.
More About 60 a Day:
According to the CDC, less than 3 out of 10 high school students in America are actually meeting the required 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Students who are not participating in sports or required to take Physical Education classes, have little to no incentive to exercise. Exercise can have drastic effects on an individuals health. Exercise can lengthen people’s lifespans, and also decrease the chance someone is diagnosed with something like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, suffer from a stroke and may even prevent some cancers.
Who Does This Affect?:
- People in the South tend to get the least physical activity.
- Men (54%) are more likely to reach that daily exercise time than women (46%).
- Whites (23%) meet the requirement at a higher rate than non-Hispanic blacks (18%) and Hispanics (16%)
Getting in 60 minutes of exercise daily can be very beneficial to your health in a multitude of different ways. Exercise is so crucial to living a healthy life that it is something that needs to be constantly addressed. Not enough people are reaching this goal and it is starting to have detrimental affects on our population, especially our youth. About 17% of children aged 2-19 are considered obese and affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents. To go along with the fact that only 2% of children eat a healthy diet, these numbers are very startling.
In a time where children are not getting enough exercise, it can form very bad habits for future generations and create a lifestyle where unhealthy eating and little to no exercise is considered the norm. This is why taking action now is so important, because if we continue to allow the people in our country to go down this path, specifically children, more and more health issues will accumulate into the future. You could imagine a scene from the movie WALL-E in the distant future, where humans are too consumed with technology and food to do anything on their own.
In order to attack the issue at hand, there a couple steps that would be crucial to moving forward.
- Increase awareness on the issue of the minimal amount of adolescents getting the required amount of exercise.
- Implement more programs for kids to have fun getting exercise, and even receive benefits that they would enjoy.
Here are a few programs that are currently working to improve exercise habits in children:
- Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH): CATCH aims to teach the importance of health to children in areas like the classroom, the lunch room and also at home. CATCH aims to educate children just how important it is for them to live a healthy lifestyle from a young age. CATCH developed in the late 1980s, funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
- Let’s Move!: Let’s move was an initiative started by former first lady (*sheds tear*), Michelle Obama that was dedicated to attacking childhood obesity within a generation. Let’s Move is attempting to put kids in successful positions at a very young age to live a healthy lifestyle.
- Action For Healthy Kids: Action for Healthy Kids has identified three main factors that they think are important for a healthy lifestyle in children. They believe that with School Action Plans, Programs and Practices and also School-Family-Community relationships, it will relate to a every kid healthy equation.