Teen Physical Activity

(School Years: 2014 & 2016)

Currently, the overwhelming majority of students are not sufficiently physically active, although that percentage has decreased since 2006

In a survey of Washington public school students, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders were asked about the amount of physical activity they had undertaken in the past week. National guidelines recommend at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day for young people. For 2014 and 2016 combined, 78% of students reported insufficient physical activity levels.

  • Trends: Overall, the percent of students who do not meet physical activity guidelines has decreased from 84% in 2006 to 79% in 2016.  The rates for students in all regions and race/ethnic groups trended downward.

  • Grade level: Students in higher grades were more likely to be physically inactive. While 73% of 8th grade students did not meet activity recommendations, 82% of 12th grade students did not meet the guidelines.

  • Race and ethnicity: American Indian/Alaskan Natives (69%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders (74%) and Black/African Americans (76%) were less likely than the county average to be inactive.  Asian students (84%) and Hispanic/Latino students (81%) were more likely to be inactive.

  • Gender: Females were more likely than males to not meet physical activity guidelines (85% and 72%, respectively).  


Notes & Sources

Source: Healthy Youth Survey.

Every 2 years, Washington public school students in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades answer questions about safety and violence, physical activity and diet, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, and related risk and protective factors. To learn more about the survey, please go to https://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/DataSystems/HealthyYouthSurvey.

Numerator: Students who responded "7 days" to the question "In the past 7 days, on how many days were you physically active for a total of at least 60 minutes per day? (Add up all the time you spent in any kind of physical activity that increases your heart rate or makes you breathe hard some of the time.)”

Denominator: All students who answered the question.

To view physical activity data for 6th grade students, go here.

To learn more about physical activity guidelines, please visit https://health.gov/paguidelines/.