American health experts are emphasizing the importance of healthier eating habits in young Americans more today than at any other time in U.S. history.
The statistics are astounding. New studies show that more than fifty percent of American teens between the ages of twelve and fifteen are over weight and physically unfit. Pediatricians are being urged to warn parents about the consequences of this problem.
Time explains, “The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2012, only about 42% of American youths had adequate levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, a 10% drop compared to 2000. The study also found that the percentage of young people who had adequate levels of cardiorespiratory fitness decreases as their weight increases. More than 600 teenagers were tested for the study. Their fitness was measured in a treadmill test, during which researchers tested how well their hearts and lungs could move blood to supply muscles.”
ABC news also reported on this serious issue. One pediatrician told ABC, “The fact that less than half of the next generation of Americans meets the minimum standards for fitness is a major cause for concern. If we are unable to stop this trend, the decades to come will see us all living in a very sick country. Fortunately, there is a lot that we can do to stem the tide of poor fitness. Physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean running marathons or forcing kids to do team sports. Simple encouragement to go outdoors, walk, and spend less time in front of television screens may go a long way. And even though this study was only in teenagers, the results should prompt all of us to improve our own levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. After all, children and teens adopt the habits of people around them, especially their parents.”