The level of physical activity among kids varies more by age and gender than by ethnicity or socioeconomic status, according to a survey that reviewed previous literature and relied on accelerometer data of activity levels rather than self-reporting. This survey is part of a supplement to the Journal of Public Health Policy reporting on the 2008 Active Living Research Conference.
At least 60 minutes of moderate daily physical activity is recommended for children but literature is inconsistent on whether and which kids do enough physical activity. This paper analyzes data from a national survey which used accelerometers to track all physical activity of youths, and reviews literature which examined correlates of physical activity among youth subgroups, in order to make recommendations for future research and targeted policies.
The authors conclude that programs targeted at girls, at maintaining physical activity levels as kids get older, and at improving safety and access to recreational facilities are most likely to improve obesity and health outcomes among all youth. They also advocate continuing interventions to low-income groups and communities of color, due to their high rates of obesity and inactivity-related diseases. However, the authors conclude that definitive evidence of effective strategies is not yet available, and call for more research to pinpoint the factors contributing to disparities in physical activity that are most amenable to intervention.