Kids to Couch Potatoes: Earlier and Faster than Ever


Daily Mail

We know a lot of kids don't get a lot of exercise, but even kids who were active at 9 years old, and getting three hours of activity per day, lose it by the time they are 15 and barely manage to get half an hour. Study author Dr. Philip Nader says the reasons are many:

"There may be competing, more interesting things to do; physical education is being done away with in some places, and so is recess; there aren't as many open spaces or parks, and being outside is one of the main things that keeps people active," he said.

Plus, children don't get the same routine daily activity that youngsters from a generation or two ago did. "Kids used to just run around and ride their bikes everywhere, and kids used to walk to school. Now, parents drive them," Nader noted.

Another Doctor noted that there is nothing new here:

kids playing outside photo

"This drop-off has always been there. Very young kids are extremely active, and as kids get older, they get into different lifestyles and different activities," said Dr. Goutham Rao, clinical director of the Weight Management and Wellness Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

"Games like hide-and-go-seek get displaced by homework and computer time," he noted.

What's really missing today, he added, is the everyday activity. "Kids don't walk to school anymore, and that's probably the most physical activity they might get. No one uses stairs or rides bikes anymore. And, our environment isn't always suitable for those things," said Rao. ::Health Day

In the UK, it isn't much better. From the Times:

"They may have designer clothes, computer games, iPods and mobile phones, but children today are being denied the freedom to play outside on their own that previous generations all took for granted, research has found.

Evidence presented to the inquiry from the Home Office and Department for Education and Skills backed up the findings. Two thirds (67 per cent) of eight to ten-year-olds have never been to a shop or the park by themselves, along with a quarter (24 per cent) of 11 to 15-year-olds. A further third of eight to ten-year-olds have never played outside without an adult being present, the departments said." ::TimesOnline
More on Getting Outside and Playing on TreeHugger
Get Outside and Play :
Go Play Outside ; Nobody Else is
Wretched Excess Dept: Mega-Rec-Rooms to Keep Kids Inside : TreeHugger
Child Creativity Linked With Outdoor Free Time/a>
Getting Students to Walk It Out