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Study Shows that Physical Activity Decreases when Teens Begin Post-Secondary Education


A new study from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada has determined that young people are reducing their amount of physical exercise after they leave home to attend college or university.

The study which is based on the National Population Health Survey by Statistics Canada is published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

The researchers monitored 683 Canadian teens and adolescents from the ages of 12 to 15 until they reached 24 to 27 years of age. The researchers interviewed the young people twice per year regarding their levels of physical activity, as well as obtaining certain information on other behaviors such as smoking and binge drinking which affect overall health.

They noted a 24 percent decrease in the participants’ level of physical activity over the course of 12 years. It appears that young people are less likely to engage in physical activity once they leave home and begin post-secondary studies at college or university. The greatest decline in physical activity compared to previous levels, was noted in young men as they entered post-secondary institutions to begin their studies.

It is not clear whether or not the decrease in physical activity could be explained by scheduling problems with the young people finding it difficult to find time to exercise at the same time as holding down jobs while attending college or university, or if the lifestyle change was due to different priorities and choices.

Once the decline in physical activity begins, the researchers noted that the decrease in physical exercise continues into adulthood. The moment at which these young people are developing from adolescents to young adults appears to be critical when it comes to predicting later commitment to fitness and an exercise regime.

Maintaining reasonable levels of physical activity is important in order to diminish the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and lessen the possibility of weight gain and associated health risks.

Source: Global News