Study shows young women in Utah get less physical activity

Aug 5, 2021, 3:12 PM | Updated: 3:13 pm
Young women physical activity study...

A new study out of the Utah State University shows that girls and young women in Utah get less physical activity than young men and boys the same age.

On the latest episode of Let’s Get Moving with Maria, guest Dr. Susan Madsen, Director of USU’s Utah Women & Leadership Project explained the reasons why.

Recommended physical activity

National recommendations suggest that children and adolescents, ages 6 to 17, get 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. For adults, they recommend at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week.

According to the study, on average globally, 37.1% of women are insufficiently physically active while only 23.4% of men are.

Utah comparison

Dr. Madsen said Utah does better compared to other states, but the trend is similar, with 19.4% of women being insufficiently physically active while only 17.6% of men are.

When it comes to younger ages it’s even worse, she said.

“14% of girls meet those basic standards… girls are significantly less than boys, about half,” said Madsen.

What to do

Parents are key, as Dr. Madsen explained.

“When we look at girls that are really young, oftentimes if we can get them really appreciating physical activity even at one years old and two and three and four that can help,” she said. 

Physical education classes also play out as a factor, she said. Most P.E. classes focus on competitive sports, which are of less interest to young women. They tend to prefer other physical activities like biking, hiking, walking, and yoga.

Another key factor Madsen talks about is teaching young girls to practice physical activity for the health benefits and the enjoyment you can get out of it, not as much for looking skinny on social media as that can have negative effects on why they are exercising.

Listen to the latest episode of Let’s Get Moving with Maria Shilaos to learn more.

You can view the Utah Girls, Young Women, and Physical Activity study here.

Follow Let’s Get Moving with Maria Shilaos on Facebook and Instagram.

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