Girls buck up! A new study reveals that urban teenage girls lag far behind from the expected levels of physical activity compared to their suburban and rural counterparts.
The findings published online and in journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, suggest that teenage girls living in urban settings may need additional, targeted opportunities for physical activity to achieve the levels reached by their suburban and rural counterparts.
"Sadly, we found that only about five percent of the hundreds of girls who participated in our study met the minimum daily activity level recommended by national and international health agencies," said lead author Bonny Rockette-Wagner from the University of Pittsburgh's school of medicine.
"Girls who were obese or had given birth in the last year were even less likely to achieve adequate levels of physical activity," Wagner added. The goal was to collect information on how many steps girls enrolled in the Pittsburgh Girls Study took on a regular basis.
The step counts were measured once a year from 2010 to 2013 using a pedometer. Activity data was reported on over 900 girls, who were 14 to 17 years old when the pedometer study started. Initially, on average, the girls took 5,614 steps per day with very little change in step counts over the four-year period. Typically, 10,000 steps per day is recommended as a daily minimum for girls this age.
This level of activity should allow girls to meet the goal of 60 minutes per day of physical activity recommended for youth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation.