Only one in four teens meets federal fitness guidelines

Recent research from the 2012 National Youth Fitness Survey reveals that only 25 percent of kids ages 12 to 15 meet the federal guidelines for daily physical activity.

The study is based on 800 kids who had self-reported their activity levels and received physical exams during the study. 

"It's definitely very concerning to see that our kids are engaging in such a limited amount of physical activity each day when we are still battling" an obesity epidemic, said Dr. Stephen Pont, an Austin, Texas, pediatrician and chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' section on obesity.

National childhood obesity programs lacking

Based on the results, experts say that national programs targeted at childhood obesity, like Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign, may still be lacking. 

The data showed that obese kids were less active than their normal-weight peers, but activity levels among overweight and normal-weight children were about the same. 

Pont said that schools can help fix the problem by not cutting recess hours and providing children more opportunities for physical activity. 

Obesity rate at 17 percent

Lead author of the study Tala Fakhouri of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the results provide useful information that can help increase teens' fitness levels.

"There's always room for improvement," she said. 

Currently, the obesity rate for children aged 2 to 19 is 17 percent – which represents about 12.5 million obese kids. 

Given the numbers, James Sallis, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego, says that most teens are at risk for poor physical and mental health because of inactivity. Moreover, teens probably exercise less than they actually reported.

"The data was obtained by self-report, which is notorious for overestimating," he said.

Source: Fox News, Web MD

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