• Physical activity reduces the risk of premature mortality in general, and of coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes mellitus in particular.

    Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

    Positive experiences with physical activity at a young age help lay the basis for being regularly active throughout life.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that young people (ages 6–17) participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.  

    In 2009, 18% of high school students had participated in at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity on each of the 7 days before the survey, and only 33% attended physical education class daily. Participation in physical activity declines as young people age.

    Physical Activity and the Health of Young People Facts - http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/physicalactivity/facts.htm

    References

    1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical activity guidelines advisory committee report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008.
       
    2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008.
       
    3. CDC. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2009.