How Active Are Our Kids?

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Here are some interesting statistics for you:
– Only 8% of U.S. kids ages 12-15 achieve 60 or more minutes of moderate-to vigorous activity on at least 5 days per week. (That number drops to 5% for 16-19 year olds)

– 43% of U.S. kids ages 6-11 meet the same “60 or more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity on at least 5 days per week” standard

– 85% of U.S. children and youth live in neighborhoods with at least 1 park or playground area

-Only 13% of children nationwide walk or bike to school on a regular basis

– Only 50% of boys, and a mere 34% of girls fall within the U.S. youth cardiorespiratory physical fitness standards

How does this information make you feel?

We’ll tell you how it makes us feel- worried for our kids!

The National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity put together a 2016 US Report Card for Physical Activity for Children and Youth. This report card was an update from the 2014 report of the same title and was designed for use by everyone from parents and teachers, clear up to national policy makers and leadership. (You can access a summary of that report here, or the full report here).

Besides giving the nation a failing grade in many categories, there are some other interesting tidbits we pulled out of this report.

Screentime- at first glance you would think that the nation is doing kind of alright at this whole screen-time situation. “Pat yourself on the back America: 47% of 6-11 year olds engage in 2 hours or less of screen time per day. That’s less than half, still a D-, but better than we expected.” The same numbers are 39% for 12-15 year olds, and 31% for 16-19 year olds.  BUT, then we read through the full report to find that this doesn’t include smartphones or tablets. So, we know that over half of kids spend more than 2 hours a day on “traditional screens” PLUS smartphone/tablet usage.

This report lists Active Play results as inconclusive, yet features the following graph:

graph for kid activity

It also says that while over 90% of kids participate in outdoor recess in grades K-5, at 6th grade that number drops to 34.9%.

We’ll let you draw what you will from the rest of the numbers, but one thing we know for sure: our goal of encouraging every family to be active is a much needed one. We want to support you in making sure your kids are learning active habits early in life, and keeping those habits as they grow older. A few weeks ago we talked about ways your kids can participate in activities here at CBRC (link). We also talked last Summer about how to keep kids active (and how to make it fun).

While these numbers may be very depressing (we think so), there’s always hope. The more parents, teachers, park planners, and community members see this information, the more we can change this for the 2018 report. For parents this may mean sending the kids out to the backyard swingset, walking to the park a couple times a week, or coming in for KidZumba class. For teachers and school administrators it may be encouraging families to use the playgrounds after school hours. It will take time and effort, but we CAN change this trend!

Whether at the gym, at the park, or even in your own backyard: movement is what keeps your kids healthy. And we wish you, and your kids, good health,

Columbia Basin Racquet Club

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