Only 1 in 4 Young Teens Meet U.S. Fitness Guidelines

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 01/08/2014 | 04:45 PM EST

First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign does little to improve youth fitness

It appears young teens aren’t exactly embracing First Lady Michelle Obama’s national fitness campaign, Let’s Move!, as a recent survey revealed that only 1 in 4 U.S. young teens aged 12-15 meet the country’s fitness recommendation, which is an hour or more of moderate to vigorous activity every day.


The results were published in the 2012 National Youth Fitness Survey, and was based on a sampled 800 kids who self-reported their activity levels and had physical exams. Though the numbers are bad by any standard, government researchers shy away from calling the results disappointing, however, the survey’s lead author Tala Fakhouri of the Centers for Disease Control said, “There’s always room for improvement.”


Fakhouri said the nationally representative results provide useful information for initiatives that aim to increase kids’ fitness, including Obama’s Let’s Move anti-obesity campaign launched in 2010.


The survey revealed that only 25 percent of kids surveyed said they got up to an hour of a form of exercise that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe harder, which is a guideline that was established in 2008. Obese kids were less active than normal-weight girls and boys, according to the results. Overweight girls were slightly less active than normal-weight girls, but levels were similar among overweight and normal-weight boys.


Though data suggests obesity may have slightly decreased among some kids, the overall rate for children aged 2 to 19 is 17 percent, which is about 12.5 million obese kids in the U.S. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years and can have long-term health effects like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer.

(Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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