Sedentary Lifestyle Facts and Figures for Teens - How to Get Them Moving

Man living a sedentary lifestyle in office

Studies reveal startling sedentary lifestyle facts and figures for teens. When parents consider the health risks, they want to know how they can help get their teens off the sofa and into life.

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Do you feel like your teen is always loafing around, playing games, watching Netflix, or surfing social media? A study recently examined the sedentary lifestyle facts and figures for teens. It seems many teens are as sedentary as 60 years old adults! Why are teens so sedentary? And how can we get our teens off the sofa and into life?

Sedentary Lifestyle Facts and Figures for Teens

A recent Time article revealed exercise rates for children declined as they entered the teen years. A study revealed 19-year-olds spend as much sedentary time as those who are 60 years old. The study published in Preventative Medicine tracked the behavior of 12,500 people between the ages of 6 and 84 years. As people approach 35, they tend to become less active due to family and work responsibilities. But what is going on with our teens?

Inactive Teenagers

Teens spend a lot of time sitting at school and studying. Many of their preferred activities involve sitting down, such as gaming and engaging in social media interaction. If they choose a sedentary job, such as office work, they spend more time in a chair rather than moving around. But how can this have an impact on the health of our teens?

Obesity and Inactivity

One of the results of inactivity is obesity. Take into consideration parents have less control over their teens' dietary choices as they start to drive, go to college, and lead more independent lives. Often their meals consist of fast food fares such as chicken nuggets and French fries. The result can be obesity, which can lead to other health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.

Too Little, Too Soon

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The sedentary lifestyle facts and figures for older people have continued to reflect our nation is not as focused on well-being as it should be. But are we modeling these behaviors to our impressionable teens? Our teens see the choices we make and it influences their decisions as they become young adults. As a result, young people are becoming less active than they should be. What can parents do to help?

Check Yourself

Are you behaving in a healthy, positive way? Whether you teens talk about it, they are observing it. Start by making healthier choices. Cook dinner at home rather than stopping for take-out food on the way home. Healthy, quick choices include fresh vegetables, lean fish and meat, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. A balanced dinner can take 15 minutes or less to prepare (less time than waiting on a long fast food line at rush hour). Consider the prep time for a chef's salad or veggies and grilled fish. Time-saving shortcuts include buying prepared hard-cooked eggs and grilled chicken.

Get Up and Go

After dinner, avoid the temptation to sink into the sofa and watch your favorite television show or surf your Facebook page to see what everyone is doing. Instead, take a walk after you eat. Even 15 minutes can make a difference in your overall health. Invite your teen to join you. Even if they refuse, they will see you exercising every day. This can inspire them to do the same. And soon they are sure to want to come along.

Added Benefits of a Family Dinner and Walk

Beyond the health benefits associated with a healthy family dinner and walk, you are spending time together. As teens get older, they naturally detach from the family. But they still need the connection and support their family can provide. A natural setting, such as dinner and a walk, gives teens a golden opportunity to chat with their parents. It takes the pressure off having a dedicated conversation and opens up the lines of communication with your teen.

What Else Can Parents Do?

If you are alarmed by the sedentary lifestyle facts and figures for teens, it's time to take further action. Get a family membership to the local gym and encourage everyone to go together. Teens may also decide to go on their own and invite friends. Take advantage of referral discounts and support your teen in going to the gym, even if you are not with him or her. Schedule a couple of family days out every month that focuses on moving and having fun. This can include camping, a hike on a nature trail, biking or swimming at a local beach or pool. The goal is to get the family moving!

While the sedentary lifestyle facts and figures for teens might seem bleak, there is still plenty parents can do to make a difference. After attending worship services, remind teens that their bodies are a gift from God and should always be respected. This includes eating a balanced diet and moving every day. Encourage healthy behaviors, be a role model for your teen, and everyone will live longer, healthier lives together!

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