Global report highlights how the changing world is affecting children’s physical activity levels

Originally published Nov. 26, 2018 in Medical and Life Sciences News.

Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, BSc

Children around the world are not moving enough to maintain healthy growth and development, according to a global report released today.

The report by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance (AHKGA) compared 49 countries from six continents to assess global trends in childhood physical activity in developed and developing nations, resulting in the “Global Matrix 3.0” comparison of grades. Read More

health guidelines

Federal government announces new physical fitness guidelines

Fewer than one in three Americans meet standards

Originally published Nov. 12, 2018 in USA Today.

By Jayne O’Donnell

Less than a third of Americans, and only one in five teenagers, meet new physical fitness guidelines issued by the federal government Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The guidelines, which officials said could be easily achieved by most, recommend the same level of exercise as the original standards released in 2008 but without the expectation that the physical activity occur in 10-minute blocks.  Read More

Even mild physical activity immediately improves memory function, UCI-led study finds

Originally published Sept. 24, 2018 by Eureka Alert and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

People who include a little yoga or tai chi in their day may be more likely to remember where they put their keys. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and Japan’s University of Tsukuba found that even very light workouts can increase the connectivity between parts of the brain responsible for memory formation and storage.

In a study of 36 healthy young adults, the researchers discovered that a single 10-minute period of mild exertion can yield considerable cognitive benefits. Using high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging, the team examined subjects’ brains shortly after exercise sessions and saw better connectivity between the hippocampal dentate gyrus and cortical areas linked to detailed memory processing. Read More

heart rate training

Children across state have low levels of physical activity, finds UCLA study

Originally published Oct. 8, 2018 in the UCLA Daily Bruin.

By Celia Janes

UCLA researchers found two-thirds of children and four-fifths of teenagers in California fail to exercise for the recommended amount of one hour per day.

The study examined what environmental factors might discourage children from exercising. Susan H. Babey, a senior research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research who authored the study, said that children are more likely to exercise if they live near a safe area to play, such as a park or quiet street. Likewise, they are less likely to exercise if they live in an unsafe neighborhood or near a busy street, where parents might have more safety concerns about letting their children play unsupervised. Read More

physical activity

New U.S. Report Card Reveals Near-Failing Grade for Physical Activity in Children, Youth

Originally published Oct. 2, 2018 in the American College of Sports Medicine.

The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA) today released its 2018 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. This is the third comprehensive assessment of physical activity in U.S. children and youth, updating the first report card released in 2014 and the second released in 2016. While the overall physical activity grade for children and youth remained low at D-, the 2018 report card revealed positive signs, especially related to opportunities and infrastructure that supports physical activity in children and youth. The Report Card includes grades for nine specific indicators, individual state data, and recommendations for how grades can be improved.

The report card is an advocacy tool that provides accountability and a call-to-action for decision-makers regarding how parents, teachers, health professionals, community leaders, and policymakers can implement new initiatives, programs and policies to improve the physical activity levels and health of children and youth. Read More