University of Pittsburgh Study Finds Low Level of Physical Activity Among Urban Adolescent Girls

Researchers at the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, have published a new study showing that adolescent girls in urban areas of Pittsburgh are not engaging in a healthy level of physical activity.

The Pittsburgh Girls Study has been monitoring a large group of girls since 1999. From 2010 to 2013, 900 girls, who were between the ages of 14 and 17 when the research began, were given pedometers to measure how many steps they took each day.The results showed that the girls took an average of 5,614 steps per day, with very little change over the four-year period. Government guidelines show that 10,000 steps taken each day would be equivalent to the 60 minutes per day of physical activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bonny Rockette-Wagner, director of physical activity assessment at the Graduate School of Public Health and lead author of the study, stated that “sadly, we found that only about 5 percent of the hundreds of girls who participated in our study met the minimum daily activity level recommended by national and international health agencies. Girls who were obese or had given birth in the last year were even less likely to achieve adequate levels of physical activity.” Dr. Rockette-Wagner added that “we know that this puts them at risk for poor quality of life, the development of chronic diseases, and other negative health outcomes.”

The study, “Activity Levels Over Four Years in a Cohort of Urban-Dwelling Adolescent Females,” was published on the website of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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