Sure, your 13-year-old might run a mile faster than you could today, but could she beat your time at age 13? Not if she’s like most kids worldwide, a new study shows.
Children run the mile 90 seconds slower than kids did 30 years ago, according to research presented at an American Heart Association conference. Overall, kids ages 9 to 17 experienced a 5 percent decline in heart-related fitness.
“It makes sense. We have kids that are less active than before,” Dr. Stephen Daniels, a University of Colorado pediatrician and spokesman for the heart association, told The Associated Press.
It’s perhaps no surprise that American kids have slowed down: about one-third get the recommended daily allotment of 60 minutes of moderately vigorous activity. But this is the first to show a decline in global youth fitness, the American Heart Association said.
To reach that conclusion, researchers looked at 50 studies of running that included 25 million children from 28 countries between 1964 and 2010. The research indicates that kids may have hit bottom in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand — and perhaps in North America. In Asia, where most of the children in the studies were from, fitness is still declining in China. Fitness levels didn’t seem to fall in Japan.
Study author Grant Tomkinson, an exercise physiologist at the University of South Australia, says obesity likely plays a key role in the decline.
“In fact, about 30 percent to 60 percent of the declines in endurance running performance can be explained by increases in fat mass,” Tomkinson said in a press release.
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