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High School Students And Physical Activity

by CDC September 30, 2011

Written by Suzanne Hurley, CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Many people are aware that too few U.S. high school students in grades 9-12 are getting enough physical activity. But do you know which groups of high school students are getting less physical activity than others?

The findings of a recent school-based study - the CDC 2010 National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study (NYPANS) - provide the answers. The results can be found in a June issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), but here are some highlights:

More high school male students than female students met the Healthy People 2020 aerobic and muscle strengthening activity objective:

  • 18.5% of male high school students
  • 5.8% of female high school students

Additionally, more students met the aerobic and muscle strengthening activity objective during their early high school years.

  • 15.0% of 9th graders
  • 12.3% of 10th graders
  • 10.7% of 11th graders
  • 10.3% of 12th-graders

Nationwide, only 15.3% met the aerobic objective of the Healthy People 2020 Physical Activity objectives, 51% met the muscle-strengthening objective, and 12.2% met the objective for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

Healthy People 2020 objectives measure recommended levels of youth physical activity and are based on the 2008 Physical Guidelines for Americans:

Youth aged 6 to 17 years need at least 1 hour of physical activity each day, and muscle strengthening activity at least 3 days a week.

To improve youth physical activity participation, efforts are needed among CDC, state and local public health agencies, schools, and other public health partners that promote physical activity.

Communities have an important role to play in supporting efforts to promote or create school-based quality physical education programs, and to create or enhance access to places for physical activity.

Listen to a Podcast on the importance of physical activity. Read more information on school guidelines and strategies.

How can you improve physical activity participation rates among all high school students?

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News & Reports | Schools


10/10/2011 3:27:31 PM #

You hit the nail right on the head Suzanne. As a previous fitness instructor I can't tell you how many overweight children I have spoken to, seen, educated and try to educate the parents.
Now as a (Link Removed) (Link Removed) target="_new">Calgary Marketing</a> Company, I am always on the lookout for great articles for my postings and great information for my clients.
Thank you once again Suzanne for this great information I will pass it on to my clients.
Keep up the great work.

Calgary Marketing Canada |

10/14/2011 11:30:47 AM #

Physical activity is in need of at least one hour in a day. in order to make our immune system strong and not susceptible to disease.

Rudy Indonesia |

10/26/2011 10:09:47 AM #

The reason most people are active theirearky years in high school is because they are trying out sports for the first time.

Kay United States |

10/26/2011 10:12:43 AM #

In order to have a healthy life we need to be active which takes effort which is what we all need! Smile

Hizzy United States |

10/26/2011 11:06:44 AM #

I think that we should make more physical activity but other than that I agree with this blog. School students should have more activity

Jaylon United States |

10/26/2011 11:07:47 AM #

i agree...high school students dont get enough exercise...including me.ha

Rebekah United States |

10/26/2011 11:07:49 AM #

I think that all highschool students should have to be in atheletics!

@nti Redneck 22 United States |

10/26/2011 11:09:12 AM #

I think every student should be in a phycial activity

get-r-DONE United States |

10/26/2011 11:10:44 AM #

I agree, high school students don;t really get much activity because they get lazy more and more while they grow older!

Paula United States |

10/26/2011 11:11:21 AM #

I agree everyone should be active.

britney United States |

1/11/2012 12:21:04 PM #

This is very intresting and i really didnt know that about high schoolers but now could they do one on middle school students.

Patricia Swaim United States |

1/11/2012 1:49:18 PM #

Kids these days aren't getting enough physical education in school & only a small amount are at healthy standards.

Ashleeeeeeey. United States |

1/11/2012 3:00:09 PM #

I like this article because people should exersize and meet the fitness standards, and it will set good habits.

Izzi United States |

1/11/2012 3:12:34 PM #

teenagers are becoming very lazy and eating bad things so i agree with your article. more teenagers should have more physical activity in their physical education class.

Marissa Bieber United States |

1/11/2012 3:44:00 PM #

I think that more kids would be more interested in physical activity if it was more fi=un for them. I think if it was more fun more high school students would have better results.

Lainy<3 United States |

1/12/2012 3:29:59 PM #

I think that more high school students would be more active if it was more fun for them. People would do more physical activity if it was fun.  

Lainy<3 United States |

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