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American teens live similar sedentary lifestyles like seniors, says new study

A new study reveals that Americans live sedentary lifestyles, whether they are young or old.

The average American teenager is no more as physically active than the average 60-year-old, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, given that levels of exercise or physical activity among children and teens were lower than previously thought.

The research team, led by Vadim Zipunnikov, examined records from over 12,500 respondents of different ages who wore physical activity tracking devices for a week straight as part of health surveys performed in 2003 to 2006, Tech Times reports.


Zipunnikov and his colleagues discovered that many respondents from this age group have low levels of physical activity and don’t reach the World Health Organization’s recommendations of having almost 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity for children and teens. Thus, over 50% of girls and a quarter of boys aged 6 to 11 do not get 60 minutes of physical activity.

The same goes for more than 75 percent of females and 50 percent of males who were 12 to 19 years old, according to researchers.

“Activity levels at the end of adolescence were alarmingly low,” said Zipunnikov in the study published in the journal Preventive Medicine. “By age 19, they were comparable to 60-year-olds.”

Still, in terms of physical activity, the only improvements among young adults occurred during their 20s. But levels of physical activity fell sharply during midlife and adulthood.

Male respondents tended to be more physically active than female respondents, in all age groups, but after midlife, the activity levels of men decreased sharply compared to that of women, while among those who were 60 years old and older, men were more physically inactive and had lower levels of light-intensity activity than women.

Madeline Gorthon