News: Kids today are less fit than their parents were

They can navigate the internet, type on a touchscreen phone and manage a thriving social life via Facebook and Twitter, but what kids today can't do is run as fast, or as far, as their parents could at their age.New research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013 found shocking declines in cardio […]

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They can navigate the internet, type on a touchscreen phone and manage a thriving social life via Facebook and Twitter, but what kids today can’t do is run as fast, or as far, as their parents could at their age.

New research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013 found shocking declines in cardio fitness levels for kids in the United States (about 6 percent per decade between 1970 and 2000) according to a press release.

The researchers also found that, worldwide, children are about 15 percent less fit than their parents were when they were young.

Lead study author Grant Tomkinson says their are many factors causing this decline, but about 30 to 60 percent are due to increases in fat mass.

Childhood obesity isn’t the only issue though – kids’ future health is at stake too.

“If a young person is generally unfit now, then they are more likely to develop conditions like heart disease later in life,‘ Tomkinson said in a press release.

So what’s the solution?

Encouraging activity. Tomkinson recommends at least an hour a day of cardio for kids – like running, swimming or cycling.

According to Health Canada, more than half of Canadian children and youth are not active enough for optimal growth and development. They recommend one hour of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily. But of course, more is better.

Do you encourage your kids to stay active? What healthy activities do you do with them?

-Katharine Watts, associate web editor

Related:
5 tips to help your kid achieve a healthy weight
Fitness ideas for the whole family
8 fun kid activities to get you fit

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