Research: Children Can’t Run as Far or as Fast as Their Parents Did

New research shows that on average kids need an extra 90 seconds to run a mile than kids did way back in 1975. Researchers blame increased body weight, a lack of exercise, and sedentary lifestyles that involve video games, mobile devices, and television. An analysis of studies on 250 million children from around the world finds that they don't run as fast or as far as their parents did when they were young.

The new research was presented at Tuesday's annual meeting of the American Heart Association. Exercise physiologists at the University of South Australia who analyzed research on 25 million children around the world found that today's kids, on average, take a minute and a half longer to run a mile than kids did in 1975. The studies measured how far children of different ages could run in 5 to 15 minutes, and how quickly they could run distances up to two miles.

The study's lead scientist, Grant Tomkinson, said that increased bodyweights, TV and video game consumption, unsafe and decentralized neighborhoods, and school curricula stripped of physical education, are likely key factors. These things may make it harder for children to get the 60 minutes of daily exercise recommended by government health experts.

"We are currently facing the most sedentary generation of children in our history," said Sam Kass, a White House chef and head of first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move program, in a speech to the conference.

According to Tomkinson, it's important that parents limit their children's screen time to less than two hours per day.

"You want exercise to be fun," said Tomkinson, "but there needs to be some huff and puff there as well."

Source: CS Monitor

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