The U.S. childhood obesity epidemic has reached a new tipping point. According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of adolescents aged 12 to 15 are physically unfit, ABC News
The findings are based on test involving more than 600 young teenagers on treadmills to measure cardiorespiratory fitness — a measure of how well the heart and lungs can move blood to supply muscles during exercise.
The researchers found that just half of all boys and only a third of all girls in the study met the bare minimum threshold required to be called "fit." All told, this means only 42 percent of kids are fit. By comparison, in 2000 the figure was 52 percent.
Overweight and obese children were less fit than those who had a healthy weight; only 30 percent of overweight children and 20 percent of obese passed the minimum fitness standards. But even so, only 54 percent of children with normal weight — barely half — had adequate levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.
"Children should spend at least 60 minutes daily," said Jaime Gahche, M.D., the lead author of the report, "mostly doing aerobic exercise, like walking, running, participating in team sports, or martial arts."
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