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Kids In The U.S. Rank Near Last Place In A Worldwide Fitness Test

Talking to your kid about personal fitness isn’t nearly as much fun as talking about fittin’ this whole pizza into your mouth — but it is for their own good. It’s especially important given the results of a recent worldwide study of 50 countries and over a million children, which concluded that kids in the U.S. came in nearly last place. This is behind kids in the country that invented pizza. It hardly seems fair.

children's fitness infographic

Image courtesy of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Researchers looked at 20-meter shuttle data (basically, how many times can you run between cones spaced 20 meters apart in a st time) for 1.1 million kids ages 9 to 17. It found that kids in America ranked 47th out of all 50 countries (Italy was 41). The fittest country was Tanzania, followed by Iceland, Estonia, Norway, and Japan rounding out the top 5, which should come in handy if you ever join that fantasy Olympics league. Mexico came in last place overall, and interestingly Canada ranked 19th. So if you’re worried about your kid’s fitness, maybe just move north?

Fortunately, the research revealed a more practical takeaway: countries with the highest level of fitness were not necessarily the richest, but they did have the least amount of income inequality. In other words, the fitness gap may have something to do with the income gap. Since bridging the chasm between wealth and poverty in this country is a wee bit harder than getting your kid to run around more, you may just want to start with setting up some cones and run drills.

[H/T] Science Daily