Ng Han Guan/AP

Immigrants Are Less Active Than U.S.-Born Kids

August 06, 2008 10:54 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A new study says that immigrant children in the U.S. get less exercise than American-born kids, and says the reasons include poverty and cultural emphases on academics.

30-Second Summary

Of the approximately 70,000 children studied, 65 percent of those who are immigrants got “regular physical activity,” versus 75 percent of American-born children.

The study’s authors theorize that foreign-born families place more emphasis on academics, and their socioeconomic status often means they lack the time and environment for activity, according to the Associated Press. 

The differences were starker among individual groups. Only one-third of children whose parents were born in Spanish-speaking countries participated in organized sports, and more than 20 percent of that group weren’t active. One researcher, Northwestern University’s Mita Sanghavi Goel, said that Hispanics also have high rates of diabetes and obesity.

“That just highlights how important it is to intervene early and set healthy lifestyle patterns early on,” Goel told the AP.

Childhood obesity has received a great deal of attention in the last several years as Americans of all ages become more overweight. Another government study, though, shows childhood obesity rates have remained unchanged since 1999.

Obesity, and the related condition Type 2 diabetes, remain top concerns among public health officials.

Headline Link: ‘Immigrant kids exercise less than U.S.-born’

Related Topics: Youth obesity leveling off; more exercise needed

Reference: Study summary; obesity and diabetes guides


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