Researchers analyzed 50 studies on running fitness during 1964 and 2010 to see if today's kids are more or less cardiovascular fit than their parents were as youngsters. They based their analysis on studies of over 25 million children ages 9 to 17 living in 28 countries, including the United States.
When compared to their parents when their parents were youngsters, from a cardiovascular standpoint, researchers concluded that today's kids are:
- Fifteen percent more fit
- About the same as their parents
- Fifteen percent less fit
The answer is 3. In a one-mile run, researchers found that worldwide "kids today are about a minute and a half slower than their peers 30 years ago." Moreover, in the United States, the cardiovascular endurance of kids declined an average of 18 percent in the three decades between 1970 and 2000. Researchers attributed the decline in cardiovascular fitness by the increase in fat mass and incidence of obesity among kids.
If you're a parent, you need to make sure your child gets 60 minutes of daily exercise that involves big muscles, such as those used for running, swimming or cycling. This regimen will protect your child's fitness today and assure a healthier body tomorrow. And just as importantly—you need to set an example by your own consistent exercise program.