Girls and young women are less likely than boys and young men to be physically active, failing to get about an hour of moderate to vigorous activity per day, according to a new report published on Monday. Black girls and women were the least likely to be physically active compared to other races and sexes.
The latest stats highlight large disparities between these groups who contribute to the nations ongoing obesity epidemic. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Data was collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2007 and 2016, the only years to have detailed questions related to physical fitness. Researchers from Duke University looked at responses from almost 9,500 males and females ages 12 to 29 years old.
Of the responses, about 45 percent of black females age 18 to 24 years reported no physical activity. The recommended amount of exercise for young adults is at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day.
By the age of 20 years old, federal guidelines recommend a significantly less amount of time per week of physical activity — at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate activity. Yet these goal numbers are still failing to be achieved by a large proportion of the population.
Black females age 25 to 29 reported a little over a half hour of activity per day. Black men, on the other hand, reported the longest duration of activity, at 77.9 minutes.
White adolescent males were most likely to report any physical activity and younger age, being white, and having a higher income was associated with more time dedicated to exercise.
“These data highlight opportunities for targeted physical activity programming and policy efforts to reduce the risk for chronic diseases and improve overall health throughout the lifespan,” the authors wrote.