Kids These Days Are Really Out of Shape

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A great sage once said that children are our future and that we should teach them well and let them lead the way. We did not heed her advice, and that's why today's kids are 15 percent less fit than their parents were.  The American Heart Association revealed Tuesday that kids all around the world, not just the United States, are dragging behind older generations when it comes to fitness. The AP reports:

On average, it takes children 90 seconds longer to run a mile than their counterparts did 30 years ago. Heart-related fitness has declined 5 percent per decade since 1975 for children ages 9 to 17.

Ninety seconds is a significant drop — just think of a difference between a 5-minute mile and a 7-minute one and so on, and so forth. 

‘"It makes sense. We have kids that are less active than before," Dr. Stephen Daniels, a University of Colorado pediatrician and spokesman for the Heart Association, told the AP. Daniels is right. Kids 30 years ago didn't have things like text messaging, the Internet, Playstation, and other vices to coax them into sedentary lifestyles. 

According to statistics compiled by the U.S. government, only one in three American kids is physically active every day and children now spend more than seven-and-a-half hours a day in front of a screen (computers, television, etc.), which is certainly a factor that could be putting seconds on to mile times. 

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The good news is that adults are finally recognizing the sloth-like tendencies of their offspring. There are programs like Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign which have raised awareness about getting kids healthy. And the decline, like childhood obesity rates, does seem to have plateaued. "The decline in fitness seems to be leveling off in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and perhaps in the last few years in North America," the AP reports. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.