The Decline and Fall of Western Physical Activity
|Child with a lower extremity amputation participating in a ropes course.|
Yet, despite the obvious benefits of being physically active, most Americans are sedentary. Our own technology is partly to blame. Why walk around the corner to the store when you can hop in a car and be there and back in 10 minutes? Our children can prepare a snack in microwave ovens far more quickly and easily than we could at their age. Computers, television and video games make great baby sitters but they don't contribute much to physical fitness other than improving hand/eye coordination through typing, clicking the remote control or blowing up aliens.
Most adults don't set a very good example, either. Less than one-third of adults get regular leisure-time physical activity (light, moderate or vigorous). About 40 percent of adults do no physical activity at all in their leisure time.
In comparison, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study found that about 25 percent of young people (ages 12 to 21) participate in light to moderate activity, such as walking or biking, nearly every day. About 50 percent regularly engage in vigorous physical activity. About 25 percent report no vigorous physical activity, and 14 percent report no recent physical activity.