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New physical activity opinion survey demonstrates perceptions do not meet reality

RESTON, VA, October 3, 2002 -- How accurate is self-assessment? That's the question the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) is asking itself after recently commissioning an opinion survey of adults and teenagers about their perceptions of physical activity and physical education. In spite of the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health (1996) stating that 60% of adults are not getting enough physical activity, the majority of adults (88%) and teenagers (84%) participating in this survey reported that they are getting enough physical activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The recommended exercise for adolescents and adults is at least 30 minutes per day on most if not all days.

"It appears perceptions do not meet reality," said NASPE President Kim Graber, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign. "The lack of physical activity among Americans of all ages is so critical, it is considered to be a major health risk factor. Yet nearly nine in 10 (88%) adults report getting 30 minutes of exercise at least once a week. They average 3.9 exercise sessions per week.

  • Teens ages 12-17 say that on average, they participate in physical activity for at least 30 minutes, 4.2 times per week.
  • Seventy-six percent of adults feel that their children also get enough physical activity."

"Clearly the physical activity community must find better and more creative ways to provide parents and teens with a better understanding about the amount and type of activity needed to maintain good health," continued Dr. Graber.

The Healthy School Summit, scheduled for October 7 and 8 in Washington, D.C., will examine the ways schools can be part of the solution for addressing poor diets and sedentary lifestyles. Citing a looming health crisis among the nation's children, Mrs. Laura Bush, Dr. David Satcher and more than 30 national organizations, including NASPE, will develop n
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Contact: Paula Keyes Kun
703-476-3461
Strategic Communications
3-Oct-2002


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