Why is lack of exercise the number one health concern for kids?

Aug 20, 2012

Kids don't get enough exercise, and it's really bad for their heath. That's what many adults told a national survey. Lack of exercise was number one on the list of top-ten child health concerns according to the survey conducted by C. S. Mott Children's Hospital. Obesity and smoking rounded out the top three health concerns for kids.

So how many kids aren't exercising regularly? About 50% in Michigan, according to Kids Count, making it part of the rise in obesity (which stands around 30% for kids in the state), along with a lack of healthy food or even eating school lunches.

Other health concerns making the top-ten this year are stress, teen-pregnancy and bullying.

Dr. Matthew Davis is the pediatrician in charge of the study. According to Davis, some of these health concerns might have poverty as a root cause.

"There are other concerns that may not seem immediately like "health concerns" such as poverty, that may be sitting behind these top-ten health concerns," says Davis. "That means if we were more successful in addressing children's poverty we may be equally, or even more successful, in addressing their health concerns.

Davis says the survey helps doctors and policy makers know which health programs might be popular enough with the public to be successful.

"The public voice should be part of the national conversation about health priorities about children. If we don't know what the public will support or endorse," he continues, "then we don't know what's going to happen when we try to roll out programs in communities."