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: Massage therapy improves circulation, eases muscle soreness

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells

Apr 14, 2014

(Phys.org) —A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers in collaboration with scientists from University ...

Building BICEP2: A conversation with Jamie Bock

Mar 18, 2014

Caltech Professor of Physics Jamie Bock and his collaborators announced on March 17, 2014 that they have successfully measured a B-mode polarization signal in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) using the ...

Charting Icelandic glacier dynamics

Mar 14, 2014

Mark Simons, professor of geophysics at Caltech, along with graduate student Brent Minchew, recently logged over 40 hours of flight time mapping the surface of Iceland's glaciers. Flying over two comparatively ...

DNA fix school timetables

Mar 13, 2014

Scientists in Russia plan to use DNA - our genetic material - to help them solve one of the perennial "back to school" problems faced by school administrators the world over: how to match up students, with classes and available ...

Recommended for you

Smoking's toll on mentally ill analyzed

5 hours ago

Those in the United States with a mental illness diagnosis are much more likely to smoke cigarettes and smoke more heavily, and are less likely to quit smoking than those without mental illness, regardless ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

Classifying cognitive styles across disciplines

Educators have tried to boost learning by focusing on differences in learning styles. Management consultants tout the impact that different decision-making styles have on productivity. Various fields have ...

Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the ...

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay peopl ...