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Heavy Kids Are Also Out of Shape, Study Finds

ATLANTA -- Overweight kids also are physically out of shape, according to a recent study of middle school children in Georgia.

The study finds that 52 percent of students did not meet the standard for healthy aerobic fitness. In addition, 30 percent were outside the recommended body mass index (BMI) limits, and 23 percent did not meet standards for strength, endurance and flexibility. Plus, 22 percent did not get the recommended 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

“These data are consistent with the suggestion that physical inactivity has led to deficient levels of health-related fitness in more areas than just body composition,” wrote Kenneth E. Powell, lead researcher on the study. “Monitoring all components of health-related fitness would provide helpful information about the health of children and youth.”

The study examined 5,248 fifth- and seventh-grade students in 93 schools across the state. The findings will appear in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Georgia legislators recently voted in favor of a bill that requires annual fitness assessments for students in grades 1-12, beginning in the 2011-2012 school year. That Student Health and Physical Education Act is awaiting final approval from Gov. Sonny Perdue.

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