And bad habits continue after high school for most, study shows

By: Amy Norton, HealthDay Reporter

Over 90 percent of U.S. high school students don’t get enough exercise to stay fit and healthy, and the pattern persists after they graduate, a new study finds.

The researchers followed students at 44 high schools for four years, and found that only 9 percent met current exercise recommendations throughout that time. For the most part, those habits held steady after high school — though college students were more active than non-students.

There was also some variation among college kids, the study found: Those who lived on campus exercised more than those who lived at home.

It’s not clear why those students were more active. They might have been more involved in sports, for example, or simply walked more — running from classes to dorms and other campus buildings, said lead researcher Kaigang Li.

“The walkability of your environment is important,” said Li, an assistant professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins.

The study is far from the first to show that most U.S. teenagers need to move more.

According to Peter Katzmarzyk, a professor at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in Baton Rouge, “This study really confirms the low levels of physical activity in adolescents, which appear to be maintained over time as they transition into young adulthood.”

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