Your kids run a mile a minute-and-a-half slower than you did!


Kids today are 15 percent less heart fit than their parents were as youngsters, and this does not bode well for their adult health, Australian researchers say.

Lead author Grant Tomkinson…and colleagues analyzed 50 studies on running fitness between 1964 and 2010 that involved more than 25 million kids ages 9-17 in 28 countries.

They gauged cardiovascular endurance by how far kids could run in a set time or how long it took to run a set distance. Tests typically lasted 5-15 minutes or covered a half-mile to 2 miles.

The meta-analysis found cardiovascular endurance declined significantly within the 46 years. Average changes were similar between boys and girls, younger and older kids, and across different regions, although they varied country to country, Tomkinson said…

In the United States the study found children’s’ cardiovascular endurance fell an average 6 percent per decade from 1970 to 2000. However, across nations, endurance declined consistently by about 5 percent every decade…

Country-by-country fitness findings are mirrored in measurements of overweight/obesity and body fat, suggesting one factor may cause the other.

“In fact, about 30 percent to 60 percent of the declines in endurance running performance can be explained by increases in fat mass,” Tomkinson said.

In many ways, I feel like this reflects the divergence between educated folks and the larger mass of poorly educated and uneducated. Comparable international studies usually recognize American adults, college-educated, being more fit than their peers abroad. Running, jogging, aerobic recreation, the expansion of sound nutrition are all characteristics of the healthier lifestyle common more often to Americans than their peers on other continents.

Unfortunately, this obviously ain’t enough to swing the habits of the whole nation.

For me, the “whys” always come down to economics. The overwhelming number of Americans has been experiencing a decline in their real income for forty years or so. Whether folks are conscious of this or not they still end up changing their lifestyle to try to keep up with where they think they should be – or better. So, we work longer hours, more family members are committed to employment [whether they find a job or not] and less time is free for organizing and leading family life, guiding your kids towards adult life.

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