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"Study: When kids become teens, they get sluggish," by LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer (warning, contains fearmongering)
While 90 percent of 9-year-olds get a couple of hours of exercise most days, fewer than 3 percent of 15-year-olds do. ...
The ... study, appearing in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, tracked about 1,000 U.S. children at various ages, from 2000 until 2006. ...
I've seen a few critical comments on this study along the lines of "Teens have more responsibilities," "Schools make children hate exercise," and so on. But what I'm wondering is — if somewhere between 10 and 15 is the magic cut-off point where children become less active, has anyone asked whether there might be a biological cause, something to do with puberty? Perhaps the body says to itself (via hormones) “We have to save some of this energy for reproduction now.”


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 17th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
The most interesting thing about that article, to me, was the buried fact that 90% of little kids get a couple hours of exercise every day. Because I thought we were supposed to be wringing our hands about how kids are just videogame-playing couch potatoes and how there's a massive childhood obesity epidemic requiring massive intervention.
Jul. 17th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
I wonder if it's related to the other finding about teens' circadian clocks preferring to sleep later or needing more sleep.
Jul. 17th, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
Having to teenagers, what I've noticed is they hit a place where they seem to need more sleep than our society tends to allow them to get. Both of my older two have or have gone through a period of time where 12 hours of sleep a night was necessary for their personal well being. So I wonder if the laziness we see isn't more that that they are being required to spend 8 hours + in school a day, then other non-physical actives, and all of a sudden they are lucky to be getting 6 hours of sleep. So they just don't have the energy.
Jul. 17th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
If it is a puberty issue, then they need to test more than US children. They need to test European, African, South American and Australian children as well--not too mention those that live in remote tribes with barely any outside influences.

The test site above mentions only US children. That doesn't tell us if it is a biological result or a cultural result. If it's biological then the children from the continents mentioned above will also be affected.
Jul. 17th, 2008 10:17 pm (UTC)
I've come across references to a study which suggested that teenagers need more sleep because their brains are growing faster than at any age since shortly after birth. Saving energy for sex and growth.
Jul. 17th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
It looks pretty straight forward to me.

90% of 9 year olds get a couple of hours exercise most days (wow!)
Maybe 3% of adults get a couple of hours exercise most days? Not many "normal" adults anyway.

Now, are 15 year olds more like 9 year olds or adults, in terms of their time commitments and interests?
Jul. 17th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
Perhaps the body says to itself (via hormones) “We have to save some of this energy for reproduction now.”

And put on weight for this purpose. Remember, ideally a mother should be a bit overweight, because she's going to have heavy demands on her food intake to form and feed her fetus.
Jul. 17th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't use the word "overweight" to describe the body of a healthy pregnant woman. If that's "overweight," then the definition of "not overweight" is messed up.

Also, the study shows this happens to teenage boys as well as teenage girls.
Jul. 18th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC)
This study made my head explode, or at least the article written from the study (as you know, sometimes those things aren't very connected). The lack of interest in the amount of exercise younger kids get! Hey, not video game playing couch potatoes. The lack of facts on the difference in free time between a 10 yr old and a 16 yr old! The lack of memory on the part of the writers about what it's like to be a teenager traditionally (moping! holing up w/friends! working your ass off!). I think, like most of these things, that it's very badly done.
Jul. 18th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
I'm wondering if part of it is social. When you are a child, you romp around in free-form play. As a teenager, you're supposed to do more organized sports, no free-form play, but also none of the everyday exercise (like running or swimming for health) that adults do. Physical activity is only for organized sports, and organized sports are only for the athletically talented. Everybody else is supposed to sit around.

Before cars, teenagers would have walked or biked places, but this is too difficult in most places because an SUV will squish you like a bug.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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