Half of teens get their exercise in at school

Posted at 8:03 PM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 20:03:45-05

If we were to ask most moms if their children were getting enough physical activity in the day, most would probably laugh and say, "of course!"

But a new study finds that even though about half of teens actually get their exercise in at school, the increasingly sedentary lifestyle leaves many of them short on the exercise and play time scale.

Dr. Abdulla Ghori, a pediatrician at MetroHealth Medical Center said he’s seen a major drop in active kids over the past few decades.

He said, "Over the years with the introduction of many electronic gadgets that are tethering kids down to the couch, the activity is gradually decreasing"

The study, done by Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, found students are actually getting most of their exercise during the school day, but the problem is, it's still not enough.

“They need to burn more than they consume,” Ghori said. “They need to have some kind of a structured 30 to 60 minute physical activity as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

Researchers discovered teens only spent about 39 minutes a day doing some form of exercise and about 42 percent of that was mainly just walking from class to class.

“They’re always wanting to play a game,” said Brian Mahoney, physical education teacher at Roxboro Middle School, about his students. “If I didn't take their iPads away, they would prefer to just sit and look at a screen."

He explained how his main goal is to simply equip students to move better, for longer.

“As a Phys. Ed. teacher we're here to push them to the next it's just a matter of exposing them to certain exercises, exposing them to certain they can get that information and go with it where they please."

And he's got the right idea, doctors say this time of year can be especially challenging, but finding small things to do, like running up the steps or jumping roping, can make a huge impact.

Ghori added that schools and parents need to make movement for teens more of a priority, and it's not as hard to put into practice as it seems.

He said, “Childhood obesity at this point in time is a public health issue. So there are so many other simple physical activity opportunities that we have in day-to-day life that we are actually missing out on."

The study also found walking to school added an extra 15 to 20 minutes of physical activity for students, however only 15 percent of kids actually do that on a daily basis.