Physical Activity

Did you know…

  • Only 1 in 5 adults – that’s 21% of American adults – get enough physical activity each week
  • Adults need at least 2.5 hours of physical activity EVERY WEEK!
  • 6-17 year olds should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity EVERY DAY
  • In 2013 only 29% of high school students in the United States had participated in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on any day that week.
  • In 2013, 48% of high school students attended physical education classes in an average week.
  • American children and youth spent a large percentage of their day; approximately 50% of their waking hours engaged in sedentary activities such as watching TV, playing video games, being on their phone. – Only 6 states (Illinois, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, and Vermont) require physical education in every grade, K-12).
  • Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

Recommendations for Physical Activity

The US Department of Health and Human Services provides guidance on healthy physical activity habits. The national recommendation is that children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 years should have 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day. This includes

  • Aerobic: Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week.
  • Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
  • Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.

These guidelines also encourage children and adolescents to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.

  • The national recommendation for schools is to have a comprehensive approach for addressing physical education and physical activity in schools.