California‘s weather encourages year-round outdoor activity. Yet just 1 in 3 children and only 1 in 5 teens in the state exercise for the one hour per day that’s recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
In contrast, a greater percentage of California adults are walking regularly. A related report by the center found that 4 in 5 adults walk for transportation (to reach work, for example), for leisure or both – an increase from 3 in 4 a decade earlier. In fairness to children, though, the study’s authors estimate that just 1 in 3 adults meet the CDC-recommended goal of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
“It’s encouraging that adults showed improvement, but a lot of Californians still need to move more,” said Susan Babey, co-director of the center’s Chronic Disease Program and lead author of both studies. “Regardless of age, exercising helps people stay in better physical and mental shape.”
? Read a Q&A with Susan Babey about the studies
Both studies are based on the 2013–14 California Health Interview Survey of more than 40,000 households in the state, and the adult study also compared results to the 2003 version of the same survey.
The main findings from the study of children and teens:
The key findings from the adult study:
The study’s authors recommend that governments and community leaders advance policies and programs that would support more walking among adults and encourage physical activity among children and adolescents by adding more parks, developing neighborhood crime prevention programs and promoting social cohesion in neighborhoods.