WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A majority of todays youths do not lead healthy lifestyles.
Study which analyzed the eating and exercising habits as well as time spent using electronics showed that youths generally do not meet good physical activity standards.
The study lead by Ronald J. Iannotti Ph.D., of the Prevention Research Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
looked at the habits of about 10,000 youths between the ages of 11 and 16.
They were asked questions about their lifestyle such as exercise; consumption of fruits and vegetables; consumptions of soft drinks, chips, and french fries; and use of electronics such as TV, video games, and computers.
Based on their answers the participants were broken down into three groups: healthful, unhealthful, and typical.
Those in the healthful group were most likely to exercise more than five times a week and eat healthy meals with fruits and vegetables more than once a day. They tended to watch around 2 hours of TV a day. However, they were unlikely to spend lots of time on the computer and playing video games. They also were unlikely to consume unhealthy foods such as chips, french fries, sweets, and soda. This group only accounted for 27% of the students surveyed.
Youths put in the unhealthful group tended to have reverse habits compared to those in the healthful group. They spent about the same time using electronics as they exercised and they ate more unhealthy foods than fruits and vegetables. They were actually often underweight and were in poor physical health. This group made up only 26% of the survey population
The largest group of students surveyed fell into the typical category. They were unlikely to exercise or eat healthy foods. They were likely found watching TV or using other electronics. While they did not eat healthy foods, they were not often found eating very unhealthy foods either. In result with their poor lifestyle choices they tended to be overweight.
None of the three groups practiced healthy lifestyle choices perfectly. In fact, about 74% of youths do not have healthy patterns. So, it is important to stress the necessity of exercise and consumption of fresh produce each day. Youths must get at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous exercise per day as well.