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Children’s Fitness Levels Continue to Decline

by: E. Huff

(NaturalNews) Researchers from Essex University recently concluded a study that evaluated the changing fitness abilities of modern children. Evaluated a decade apart based on physical strength, the study revealed that 10-year-olds from 1998 were capable of outrunning 95 percent of 10-year-olds in 2008.

While most studies about health focus on obesity, this study aimed to address children's physical fitness levels aside from their weight. Researchers purposely conducted the study in an area of town that had generally low obesity rates in order to test their hypothesis that being of a normal weight does not necessarily mean that a person is physically healthy. Their findings confirmed this to be true.

Comparatively, the participants from both the 1998 group and the 2008 group were of similar weight profiles. However when tested based on their speed and endurance in a shuttle run, a significant decline in ability over the course of just ten years was obvious and troubling to researchers. They believe that the results would probably have been even worse had the study been conducted in an area with high obesity rates.

Some experts worry that too much focus on obesity has led to an overall decrease in health among people of more normal weights who assume that they must be in good health because they are not overweight. All agree that children are spending too little time outdoors engaging in physical activity and too much time indoors in front of the computer and television screens. Educational facilities are partly to blame as well, they say, citing a lack of organized outdoor activities for kids during the school day.

The British government has begun a campaign designed to encourage healthy lifestyles among all children. Addressing obesity remains an important issue because overweight people, especially children, are more prone to developing chronic illnesses. However officials recognize the need to encourage everyone to participate in regular physical activity for their own well-being.

In the United States, the President's Challenge is a physical fitness testing protocol that schools often use to gauge the fitness levels of their students and spur them towards getting and staying in shape. Instructors give recognition and awards to children when they achieve the goals and requirements of the program. When used in conjunction with a complete and regular physical fitness program, including healthy lifestyle and diet recommendations, it can be highly successful at motivating children to stay fit and achieve better health.

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