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: More cheese, please: News study shows dairy is good for your metabolic health

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

App helps homeowners identify spiders

24 minutes ago

Each autumn the number of spiders seen indoors suddenly increases as males go on the hunt for a mate. The Society of Biology is launching a new app to help the public learn more about the spiders that will ...

Recommended for you

A heart-felt need for dairy food

34 minutes ago

A daily small serve of dairy food may reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke, even in communities where such foods have not traditionally formed part of the diet.

Organic food may cause fewer pre-eclampsia cases

50 minutes ago

Pregnant women who often eat organic vegetables have a lower risk of pre-eclampsia than women who rarely or never do. This is shown in an article using data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study ...

Hazelwood coal fire linked to 11 deaths

1 hour ago

It is likely air pollution from the 2014 Hazelwood coal mine fire in Victoria caused the premature deaths of 11 people, a QUT health researcher said.

Reduce your risk of falls

2 hours ago

If you are over 65 and have had a fall before, researchers at the University of Sydney think you should balance on one leg to brush your teeth, bend your knees to pack the dishwasher and take the stairs more often.

User comments : 0