Study shows teens become less active as they grow older

Feb 19, 2007

As they grow older, teenagers are spending more time in front of the computer and television and less time participating in physical activities, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Research published in the journal Pediatrics found that moderate to vigorous physical activity among teenage girls and boys dramatically decreased from early to late adolescence. In addition, the findings showed that sedentary behaviors increased nearly 25-50 percent from 1999 to 2004.

“There is a disturbing shift in behavior as adolescents grow older,” said Melissa Nelson, Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “The increase in sedentary activities combined with the decrease in physical activity is thought to be associated with increased risk for obesity.”

Participation in physical activity among girls dropped from 5.9 to 4.9 hours a week from early adolescence (ages 11-15) to midadolescence (ages 15-18). Even more drastic was the drop from 5.1 to 3.5 hours a week in girls from mid to late adolescence (ages 18-23). Time spent on the computer for non-school related activities also increased from 8.8 to 12.5 hours a week from mid to late adolescence.

In contrast, boys showed a more delayed decline in physical activity starting in midadolescence and dropping from 6.5 to 5.1 hours a week as they grew older. Leisure time computer use increased substantially from early to midadolescence (from 11.4 to 15.2 hours a week) and mid to late adolescence (10.4 to 14.2 hours a week). Researchers conducted a longitudinal study of more than 2,000 adolescents to examine changes in eating patterns, weight, and physical activity over five years. Subjects completed two surveys for Project EAT: Eating Among Teens - one in 1999 and one in 2004 - to determine if there were changes in physical activity patterns.

Source: University of Minnesota

Explore further: Tobacco firms get partial win over claims on smoking effects (Update)

Related Stories

Serengeti Park disappearing

21 minutes ago

A huge wildebeest herd migrates across the open, parched plains. Dust swirls up from the many hooves pounding the ground, and forms a haze over the landscape. The setting sun gives the scene a golden tinge.

Image: Cambodian rivers from orbit

40 minutes ago

A flooded landscape in Cambodia between the Mekong River (right) and Tonlé Sap river (left) is pictured by Japan's ALOS satellite. The centre of this image is about 30 km north of the centre of the country's ...

Recommended for you

Breastfeeding protects against environmental pollution

May 22, 2015

Living in a city with a high level of vehicle traffic or close to a steel works means living with two intense sources of environmental pollution. However, a study conducted by the UPV/EHU researcher Aitana ...

When it comes to hearing, diet may trump noise exposure

May 22, 2015

Although the old wives' tale about carrots being good for your eyesight has been debunked, University of Florida researchers have found a link between healthy eating and another of your five senses: hearing.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.