Hispanic Kids Don't Get Enough Exercise, Study Finds

Filed under: In The News, Diet & Fitness, Health

hispanic children exercise

Hispanics don't exercise all that much in their spare time, a new study finds. Credit: Getty Images


After a grueling day of intense, physical, back-breaking labor, you know what you need? A little exercise.

Take Mexican farmworkers. Sure, they work their upper arms, but they often completely overlook their abs. This, apparently, is a problem in the Hispanic community.

While members of other ethnic groups make time for tummy crunches, the Los Angeles Times reports Hispanic adults don't exercise all that much in their spare time. As a result, neither do their children.

Researchers at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville worry this could lead to sedentary habits and overweight kids.

Their study concludes that Hispanic kids between ages 6 and 17 are more likely to be couch potatoes. The precise statistics are that 22.5 percent of immigrant Hispanic children, 17.2 percent of American-born Hispanic kids with immigrant parents and 14.5 percent of U.S.-born Hispanic kids with a single immigrant parent are considered sedentary. By comparison, only 9.5 percent of Anglo kids are considered inactive.

To figure out why this is, the Times reports, researchers looked at parents. They actually strapped devices on parents to find out how much moderate-to-vigorous physical activity they engaged in.

"For parents, the near-perfect lack of vigorous activity is essentially a constant," the authors observe in the study published in the journal Pediatrics. Children's lack of physical activity -- at least during leisure time -- mirrored that of their parents.

The Times reports roughly three out of 10 Mexican-American children between the ages 2 and 5 in the United States are overweight or obese.

"Overweight and obese status established by preschool has been found to persist into adolescence and adulthood," researchers write. "These striking figures should not be taken lightly."

No pun intended?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.