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Most youth don't get 1 hour of exercise

May 25, 2010 at 11:49 PM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, May 25 (UPI) -- Fewer than 25 percent of U.S. communities have parks or recreation centers within one-half mile of their boundaries, making fitness difficult, officials say.

The report, State Indicator Report on Physical Activity 2010, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, includes data about physical activity and barriers to physical activity.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, says the report finds 17 percent of the nation's high school students say they get the minimally recommended 1 hour of physical activity daily.

"Regular physical activity is essential to overall health and can also help people maintain a healthy weight and reduce their risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases," Frieden says in a statement.

"This state indicator report provides a measure for a state's ability to support physical activity and shows where a state has been successful and where more work may be needed."

The sedentary lifestyles of U.S. adolescents may be partially because 50 percent of youth reported having access to parks, playgrounds, community centers and sidewalks that make physical activity convenient.

Twenty states require or recommend scheduled recess for elementary students, while 37 states mandate elementary, middle and high schools to teach physical education, the report says.

The report is at: www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/professionals/reports/index.html.

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