Recent findings presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions show that today’s children have “cardiovascular fitness 15 per cent lower than their parents did at the same age” and take a minute and a half longer to run a mile than children three decades ago. How very shocking. Sike. It’s not. Children are people after all, surely adults today also have lower cardiovascular fitness and less speedy feet.
According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Grant Tomkinson, a senior lecturer at the University of South Australia’s School of Health Sciences “If a young person is generally unfit now, then they are more likely to develop conditions like heart disease later in life.” Translation: The children might be doomed.
The researchers looked at 50 studies on running fitness from the years1964 to 2010, involving over 25 million kids from 28 different countries. In order to determine cardiovascular fitness, they timed the kids running or measured the distance they could run in a set time. Cardiovascular endurance has taken a significant decline around the globe, plummeting about 5% per decade across nations.
The declines, according to Dr. Tomkinson, are probably caused by “social, behavioral, physical, psycho-social and physiological factors.” That explanation covers all grounds except potential contributing factors like “sorcery” and “terrorists.”
So what are we to do? Dr. Tomkinson suggests that children get an hour of daily activity that engage the big muscle groups, encouraging kids to choose a range of physical activities they like or want to try in order to get moving and develop good fitness habits for life. That sort of advice sounds great in theory, and more physical activity is certainly something to strive for; however, considering the “social, behavioral, physical, psycho-social and physiological factors” attributed to the decline in fitness, many aspects of life in the 21st century need to be adjusted to solve the problem at hand. Slower children are just a symptom of a larger problem.
via The Daily Mail//Image via Heavyweights (1995)