Health :: Skill building helps teens become more active

Ohio researchers reported in the Journal of Adolescent Health that the teaching high-school students some time management and coping skills helps them to become more active, and is particularly effective for getting sedentary students moving.

After the program, the percentage of students who reported getting no moderate leisure-time exercise at all during the course of a week fell from about 47 percent to 9 percent, while the average amount of moderate exercise the students got roughly tripled, Drs. Brian Hortz of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and Rick Petosa of Ohio State in Columbus report.

“What we did was created a program that was essentially to build skills that were similar to what adults would use to build activity into their lifestyles,” Hortz told Reuters Health. He pointed out that public health efforts to boost teens’ activity levels generally focus on time spent in PE class, without looking at how to help young people become more active in their time away from school.

Hortz and Petosa note that people’s activity levels begin to decline in adolescence. Given that kids seem to become less active as they begin to take on grown-up roles like working a job, dating, and driving, Hortz said, it makes sense that teaching them skills adults with busy lives use to stay active could be helpful.

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