Youth fitness--problems and solutions

Prev Med. 1993 Jul;22(4):589-94. doi: 10.1006/pmed.1993.1053.


Review of the current data in the area of youth fitness reveals some alarming trends. Children in the United States are fatter, slower, and weaker than their counterparts in other developed nations. In addition, U.S. children seem to be adopting a sedentary lifestyle at earlier ages. Although there is no easy solution to this problem, there are specific recommendations that can ensure improvement in this area. The cornerstone for any meaningful change must involve programs that seek to increase physical activity both in school and at home. Daily, quality physical education in grades K-12 should be mandated in all states. Parents should be educated regarding the critical importance and the multitude of benefits to be derived from their involvement in fitness-related activities with their children. A healthy balance must be established between sedentary activities, e.g., television and video games, and physical activity. All schools should establish fitness testing programs for children and these should be based on health-fitness parameters rather than on athletic performance variables. To ensure improvements in youth fitness across our nation, other interventions are also necessary. These include appropriate involvement of local communities, state and federal governments, the medical health professions, and the media. Specific strategies are available for each group.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Health Education / trends*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Physical Education and Training / trends*
  • Physical Fitness*