US Teens Are Actually Getting Healthier

More veggies, more exercise, less TV—but still not enough
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2013 3:59 PM CDT
US Teens Are Actually Getting Healthier
A member of a high school soccer team works out for conditioning training in Salina, Kansas.   (AP Photo/Salina Journal, Tom Dorsey, File)

(Newser) – American teenagers may not be the junk food-scarfing, video game-addicted balls of lard the media likes to make them out to be—or at least, they may not be anymore. A new study has found teens in 2010 were eating more vegetables, getting more exercise, drinking less soda, and watching less TV than they were in 2001, the New York Times reports. The study of 35,000 young people aged 11 to 16 found they were eating fruits and vegetables nearly twice as often, drinking 20% fewer sugary beverages, and the number of times they exercised for an hour or more had gone up from 4.33 days per week to 4.53 days per week, Think Progress reports. And between 2005 and 2009, the teens' average BMI went down.

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So that's the good news. The bad news is that the teens still weren't meeting the federal recommendations for an hour of exercise a day, while they did manage to fit in at least two hours a day watching TV, chatting online, and playing video games, the Times reports. The study also found younger teens tended to get more exercise and eat more healthfully, with their habits growing unhealthier as they got older. And black and Hispanic teens were behind white teens in almost every category, even after adjusting for socioeconomic factors. (Read more childhood obesity stories.)

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