Children Are Less Active Today: Why?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion works to improve health and well-being by developing and promoting dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers. MyPyramid, the educational tool that replaced the Food Guide Pyramid in 2005, includes guidelines on finding a balance between food and physical activity.
"Physical activity and nutrition work together for better health. Being active increases the amount of calories burned. As people age their metabolism slows, so maintaining energy balance requires moving more and eating less," advises MyPyramid. It is recommended that children and teenagers should have a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.
But a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that as children grow older they are becoming less active, and many do not meet the recommended guidelines. Researchers believe factors such as increased traffic, neighborhoods with fewer parks, and cuts in school recess have an effect. The concern is the potential for childhood obesity and a host of health problems children could possibly face into adulthood if the trend is not reversed.
Whose responsibility is it to ensure that children and teenagers get the physical activity they need?