The Lack of Physical Activity for the American Child

Vanessa Hudgens

A recent study conducted by Y-USA shows that close to 75% of children between the ages of 5 and 10 only get less than one hour of physical activity a day. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans provided by the government suggest that children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The creation of the television and other forms of technology has caused children to bypass the playground and shoot for the couch on a regular basis. This poses an array of problems for the future, and the numbers are only getting worse.

American ChildSedentary children turn into sedentary adults, and that kind of lifestyle is typical of obese Americans. With the rates for childhood obesity skyrocketing on a daily basis, researchers think that much of that may be due to the lack of physical activity that most children experience in their homes. Some of the low levels may be associated with the increase in prices for after school activities. In an effort to save money, many parents reduce their children’s activity levels.

The survey conducted in this study showed a variety of interesting statistics about childhood activity levels. 42% of the parents’ surveys said that technology may largely be to blame for the lack of movement. Cell phones, computer games, video games, and social networking distract children from going outside and enjoying the day. What made this statistic worse though is that parents seemingly encourage these non-active events. 53% of the parents surveyed said that they spent their free time with their children playing on the computer or playing video games to pass the time.

A staggering 74% of the parents in the study said that they spent a good portion of their bonding time with their children in front of the television, watching movies, playing games, or simply browsing through the channels for something to watch. 58% of the families claimed that their children spend less than four days a week outside playing. This, combined with the lack of active opportunities in the house, means that children are sinking further and further into a state of inactivity.

38% of parents claimed to be too busy to be able to go outside and be active with their children. The same percentage also asserted that extracurricular activities nowadays are too expensive to afford. All of these statistics just add to the risk of childhood obesity and laziness in the coming years.

Luckily, there are ways to combat the issue before it ever becomes a problem. If you are a parent, you may make an effort to get your child involved in free activities in the community. Spend time on the weekends doing projects around the house that get your child excited about moving around. Find creative ways to keep your child in motion, and you will enjoy a much happier kid as a result.