Kids Today Take 90 Seconds Longer to Run a Mile Than Kids in the 1980s

"Remember when human bodies could 'run'?" -Person of the Future

At an international meeting held by the American Heart Association yesterday, Dr. Grant Tomkinson presented research that said cardiovascular endurance in children is declining by 5 percent every decade.

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION]
(Billingham/Flickr)

Tomkinson and his colleagues at the University of South Australia looked at data from 1964 through 2010, from more than 25 million kids in 28 countries.

Timed mile runs over the years, they found, are about a minute and a half slower than they were 30 years ago. “About 30 percent to 60 percent of the declines in endurance running performance can be explained by increases in fat mass,” Tomkinson said, frankly.

Now you know why you had to run a timed mile in gym class: so you can lord it over future generations in international fitness wars. An unaffected sense of superiority can be more delicious than any food.

Unfit youth stumble into untoward health problems as adults, which really is tragic. Minors can't consent to sedentary lifestyles. Strive for equality of health-opportunity; exercise the children. What are you going to do with your extra 90 seconds?

Presented by

James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He writes the health column for the monthly magazine and hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Health

Just In