Health >> Physical Activity >> Teens (Grades 6, 8, 10, & 12) >> Grade, Race/Ethnicity, Gender

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Youth became progressively less active as they moved through middle school and high school.

Regular physical activity helps control weight, strengthen bones and muscles, and boost mental health and academic performance. It also reduces the risks of many chronic illnesses. Federal guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise for adults; and at least an hour of exercise each day for children and teens.

Applying 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for children and teens, Communities Count analyzed survey data on King County youth. Note: the new guidelines differ from those used in earlier Communities Count reports.

  • As they moved through middle school and high school, youth became less physically active; by 12th grade only about 1 in 6 met federal physical activity standards.
  • American Indian/Alaska Native youth were most likely, and Asian teens were least likely to meet physical activity standards.
    • American Indian/Alaska Native (30%) youth were more likely to meet standards than Asian, Hispanic, or White teens.
    • Black (25%) youth were more likely to meet physical activity standards than Asian or Hispanic teens.
    • Multiple-Race youth (24%) were more likely to meet standards than Asian or Hispanic teens.
    • All groups of youth were more likely than Asian (16%) teens to meet standards.
  • As with adults, males were more likely than females to meet standards.
  • In 2010, 48% of King County 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students spent at least 3 hours every day watching TV, playing video games, or using a computer for fun (data not shown).