75% of teens arent getting recommended daily exercise: New study suggests supportive school environment is linked to higher physical activity levels

Three out of every four teens aren’t getting enough exercise, and this lack is even more pronounced among female students.

But new research from the University of Georgia suggests improving a school’s climate can increase physical activity among adolescents.

School environments play a critical role in helping children develop healthy behaviors, like creating healthy eating habits, said lead study author Janani R. Thapa. And the same goes for physical activity.

“The length of recess, physical facilities and social environments at schools have been found to affect physical activity among students,” said Thapa, an associate professor of health policy and management at UGA’s College of Public Health.

The state of Georgia has implemented policies and programs to boost physical activity in K-12 schools. Thapa has been one of the lead evaluators of these programs.

“Over time, the state has observed declining levels of physical activity among all adolescents, but the rate is higher among female middle and high school students,” she said.

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