Exercise Guidelines Out of Touch?

Experts agree that this is the most sedentary generation of children in history. Computers, television, video games, and long hours seated at school combine to decrease children’s activity.

Current guidelines for activity levels were designed for adults — another case of ‘one-size-does-not-fit-all’.

The CDC and the American College of Sports Medicine call for all Americans to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. A study in the September 2001 online issue of Pediatrics used heart monitors to actually measure the activity levels of 1900 representative children ages 3 to 17. They averaged 30 minutes daily of high intensity exercise plus another 60 minutes of moderate exercise daily — more than 3 times the recommended levels — in a generation of children growing more obese each year.

I believe that children thrive with more activity than the levels suggest, probably about 2 hours of moderate to high-intensity activity daily. They’re designed with energy to burn for a reason!

Published on: September 10, 2001
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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