Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Only One in Five Teens Meet Physical Fitness Guidelines

Only One in Five Teens Meet Physical Fitness Guidelines

The advice is the first update since the government's physical activity guidelines came out a decade ago. "In 2008, the American Heart Association adopted the Physical Activity Guidelines and again we are proud to lead the call for health groups across the country to view these guidelines as beneficial to both public health and a worthy tool for clinicians".

- The JAMA Viewpoint, "Physical Activity Guidelines for Health and Prosperity in the United States", by Brett P. Giroir, M.D., and Don Wright, M.D., M.P.H., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At least three times a week, exercise should be vigorous and include muscle- and bone-strengthening activities like climbing on playground equipment or playing sports. As before, children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years should engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes per day, reported Richard Troiano, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues in the JAMA paper.

The previous guidelines stated that only 10-minute bouts of physical activity counted toward meeting the guidelines.

"Multiple studies demonstrate that the steepest reduction in disease risk, such as for coronary heart disease, occurs at the lowest levels of physical activity", wrote Paul Thompson, chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital, and Thijs Eijsvogels, an exercise physiology professor at Radboud University Medical Center, in an editorial accompanying the guidelines.

Any amount of exercise has some health benefits, officials say, and some benefits are even immediate, like better quality of sleep or reduced anxiety.

Move more, sit less and get kids active as young as age 3, say new federal guidelines that stress that any amount and any type of exercise helps health.

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Physical activity helps manage more chronic health conditions.

Pregnant and post-partum women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio a week.

Could you bike or walk more as part of your daily commute?

Exercise can also improve cognition in those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or dementia, the guidelines say, and even reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. In 2008, when the first "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans" were released, government scientists could assert only that adequate levels of physical activity helped reduce the risk for breast and colon cancer.

A new addition to the guideline indicates that young children between the ages of 3 and 5 should engage in active play throughout the day to enhance growth and development.

While the debate around health insurance and "pre-existing conditions" continues to rage in political circles the USA government is now officially begging people to take care of themselves a bit better. The guidelines nudge older Americans to get on board - or stay on board - with a physically active lifestyle, including balance training to help prevent falls.

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