American Heart Association: Most of the nation's teens aren't getting enough exercise
With the explosion of smartphones, teens have learned to swiftly scroll and type away using only their thumbs. But the rest of their bodies are woefully inactive – and the effects are far-reaching.
Only about 1 in 4 high school students get the recommended hour a day of physical activity, according to statistics from the American Heart Association.
"Physically active children tend to be less obese and are less likely to develop hypertension, diabetes and cardiac disease, and they have better mental well-being as well," said Dr. Geetha Raghuveer, a pediatric cardiologist at Children's Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri. "Physical activity is an important part of a child's life."
In years past, Raghuveer said, kids were more likely to hop on their bikes or shoot baskets. Now, pursuing the internet is the default recreational activity.
"There are a lot of social media outlets – it's not just TV and video games anymore," she said. "There is too much tablet (and) computer time and phone time using Facebook and Twitter. There's a great deal of sitting time involved and many detrimental effects associated with this."
Exercise not only burns calories and sugar, but it also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. It keeps the heart healthy by helping arteries dilate more easily.
Read the full story via the American Heart Association
Learn more about the Heart Center at Children's Mercy