CDC: Only 1 in 4 American teens meet exercise standard - KMSP-TV

CDC: Only 1 in 4 American teens meet exercise standard

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First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign is all about getting young Americans to exercise, and a recent study by the CDC founds there are too many couch potatoes in the teen age group.

According to a national youth fitness survey conducted in 2012, most young teens aren't meeting U.S. fitness recommendations. In fact, only one in four Americans between the ages of 12 and 15 are getting an hour or more of moderate to vigorous activity in a day.

"I think this is basically confirmed some of the information we've been getting over the last few years about the lack of physical activity that kids are getting," Dr. Aaron Kelly, researcher and associate professor of pediatrics and medicine said.

The results were generated by looking at 80 children in the age bracket, and 75 percent of respondents admitted they don't meet the exercise standard.

"What schools need to do a better job of is increasing the amount of physical education time and increasing the amount of recess," Kelly recommended.

Staying active can be a challenge when extreme cold sets in, but one St. Louis Park High School Senior told Fox 9 News winter won't stop him from being active each day.

"I'm on the ski team so we have a lot of practice with the team out at Wirth Park," Alex Palmatier said. "Even when it's -5 out and whatever, we just get out there and have fun."

Both Palmatier and Oneg Plisner agree it was harder to spend a full hour being active when they were younger than it is for them now.

"It is a little easier when you're older because if you have a car, you can get to places easier and you have a lot of options," Pilsner said.

Although it can be tough to find motivation to move when frigid temperatures hover over the state for days on end, Kelly recommends getting outside anyway.

"Things like sledding, building a snow man, building a snow fort -- those things can really get your heart rate up and really be a lot of fun," he said.

The CDC recommends young teens exercise for an hour or more each day, and that includes aerobics, muscle and bone strengthening activities. Kelly adds that parents are the first line of defense when it comes to physical fitness.

"Finding activities that a teenager enjoys needs to be the focus because we don't want physical activity to feel like work," he said.

Kelly says physical activities can also be broken down into interval bouts of 10-15 minutes throughout the day, and smaller doses can make accomplishing the goal a little bit easier.

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