Once upon a time, children raced home from school, grabbed a snack and then headed outside to play — sometimes for hours. Fast-forward about 50 years. Only 15 percent of today’s kids get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Instead of chasing each other around the playground or forming an impromptu neighborhood game of kickball, they’re in the basement playing video games. The study: Led by Dr. Kristie Hubbard, researchers from Tufts University in Boston measured the physical activity — both in school and out of school — of 453 schoolchildren in Massachusetts during a one-week period. The children wore accelerometers for seven consecutive days during their waking hours. Thirty percent of the kids were obese or overweight. Nationally, it is recommended that kids get 30 minutes of exercise daily in school and 30 minutes out of school. The results:

  • Only 15 percent of the children in the study got an hour of daily moderate or vigorous exercise.
  • While at school, just 8 percent were able to get 30 minutes of exercise.
  • The greatest disparity was between boys and girls, with girls being far less likely than boys to meet both of these guidelines.
  • As compared to normal or underweight children, overweight and obese children were also less active overall and achieved fewer minutes of exercise during school, out-of-school and on weekends.