Appalachian State

Fit Kids: Study Highlights Importance of Teenagers Staying Active

February 26, 2015

See the original story and video on TimeWarner Cable News.

CHARLOTTE—A new study out of the North Carolina Research Campus found that four out of 10 middle school students are considered overweight or obese.

Doctors say this trend can puts kids at a higher risk for disease. The state requires schools to provide a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity a day for Kindergarten through eighth-grade students.

“It’s not a secret that our biggest battle right now is childhood obesity, so it’s important for our kids to stay active because a more physically fit kids produces better in the world, but right now produces better academically in the classroom,” said Allison Pearce, Health and PE teacher at Quail Hollow Middle School.

A study from the NC Research Campus found four out of 10 middle school students are considered overweight or obese.

Nieman“We tested 750 middle school age children during a three year period, actually twice,” said Dr. David Nieman, professor of health sciences.

Nieman said the results were startling. The kids with a high percentage of body fat did not perform as well in a variety of fitness tests.

“In fact, these individuals here, this oxygen capacity is equal to that of a 60-year-old person. So they are already, at this very young age, very low in their oxygen capacity,” said Nieman.

Many of them already had risk factors for disease.

“It’s so easy to turn around. Just keep the kids lean and active and eating better, and we’re fine,” said Nieman.

Dr. Nieman recommends kids get at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity, add more fruits and vegetables to their diet, and reduce their sitting time as much as possible. He said parents need to get involved too and that’s the goal at Quail Hollow Middle School.

“What we hope is our kids get so excited about being physically fit and doing so many things that then they’ll take that message home, and so maybe they’ll say, “Hey mom, let’s go for a walk or let’s ride our bikes.,” said Pearce.

Nieman also recommends reducing the amount of screen time kids have to less than two hours a day.

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