Health Advice



Help your teens get more exercise

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Fifteen-year-old Katie Ledecky won gold in the 2012 London Olympics' 800-meter freestyle event. Tiger Woods won the U.S. Junior Amateur tournament at ages 15, 16 and 17. Jennifer Capriati astounded the sports world when, at 14, she made it to the semifinals of the French Open and to the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Inspiring, but not to other teens apparently. Researchers at the University of Georgia surveyed 360,000 high school students and found that 75% of them aren't getting the minimum recommended amount of physical activity. Even worse: Only 35% of young women are physically activ, while only 57% of males are.

The repercussions can ripple throughout their life -- triggering premature heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, cancers, depression, decreased cognitive abilities in early adulthood and premature dementia.

The solution is found at school and home. In schools that provide sufficient recess, protect kids from bullying and have facilities that allow for exercise and sports, teens become much more active, the researchers found. Work with your kids' principal, PTA and school district to encourage school-supported activities.

At home, parents need to encourage exercise by setting examples (start by walking 10,000 steps a day), planning regular, active family outings (swimming, hiking, a daily evening walk), helping kids participate in school and intermural sports (find out about tryouts and choices).

Psst! Did you know that one study found that when employees exercise regularly, they earn 9% more than folks who don't? So, help your kids brighten their present and their future by getting them into regular exercise.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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