Thanks to the likes of Instagram and other social media channels, we’re seeing larger numbers of adolescents and young adults being more active on the whole. However, a new study has revealed that girls and young women are, in fact, less likely to take part in heart-rate raising recreational activities compared to males.
What’s more, the study highlighted that when females do this type of activity, it’s for lesser periods of time.
The current recommended guidelines suggest that children and teens complete a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity of moderate to vigorous proportions each day, with adults should be undertaking 30 minutes a day.
Despite these guidelines, research conducted in the US has discovered that in excess of 20% of adolescent girls, along with 12% of boys complete no form of physical activity over the course of a week. The study also found that just under 30% of men and nearly 40% of women between the ages of 18 and 29 stating they are completely inactive too.
Co-author of the study, Dr Charlene Wong from North Carolina’s Duke University, claimed the research might prove to aid in public health interventions, remarking that the study proposes the focus should be centred around females and young adults as well as people from low-income and minority backgrounds.
Dr Wong said: “Our black female, young adults were the least likely to say they did any physical activity and those who did were active for the shortest amount of time.”
More on the study’s findings…
Almost 88% of boys between the ages of 12 and 17 in the study said they indulged in moderate and/or vigorous exercise each week, while the figure dropped by 15% to 73% for males aged 18 to 24, with the next age bracket (25 to 29) reducing further to 71%. When the female participants’ figures were reviewed, the proportion fell from just over 78% of adolescents to slightly more than 61% for the older age groups (18-24 & 25-29).
The authors said that although they are still unsure what is behind the trends, they do think that several factors might be contributing to these issues, such as;
- A person’s body image
- The different social norms around exercise between the sexes
- Fewer scheduled activities post-education (school)
- Increasing work life stresses and pressures
It’s worth noting that the research did offer limitations in its findings. This is because it did not include activities like walking to work, if participants had children, or if they were pregnant. Also, the study’s researchers did bring to light the fact that the inclusion of self-reported data has the capability to lead to an over-estimation of activity, which means the participants could, in fact, be doing less activity than they claim.