Few teens meet US physical activity goals

July 1, 2011

Only about 12% of high school students meet the goals for Aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities set by the Healthy People 2020 initiative, CDC researchers report.

Only about 12% of US high school students meet the goals for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities set by the Healthy People 2020 (HP 2020) initiative, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers report.

HP 2020 includes 3 objectives for meeting federal physical activity guidelines: at least 60 minutes of aerobic activity daily; muscle-strengthening activities at least 3 days per week; and aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities combined. To determine what percentage of US youths meet these objectives, researchers analyzed data from the 2010 National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study, a school-based study conducted by the CDC.

Of the 9,701 high school students included in the study sample, 15.3% met the HP 2020 objective for aerobic activity. More students-51% overall-met the muscle-strengthening activity objective, and only 12.2% of students met the objective for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities combined. In all categories, more boys than girls, more younger students than older, and more underweight, normal weight, and overweight teens than obese teens met the objectives.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Physical activity levels of high school students-United States, 2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011;60(23):773-777.