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ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – A new University of Michigan poll on children’s health finds that “couch-potato kids” are a top concern of adults in the U.S.
In the poll’s annual top 10 list, a nationwide sample of adults were asked to identify the top 10 biggest health concerns for kids in their communities.
Lack of exercise edged out childhood obesity for the number one spot, with tobacco use coming in a close third. Drug abuse and bullying rounded out the top five. Also high on the list were stress, alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, Internet safety and child abuse and neglect.
Doctors say, aside from fitness benefits, exercise can lead to being more attentive in school and an improved sense of well-being.
“The strong perception that lack of exercise is a threat to children’s health may reflect effective recent public health messages from programs such as First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, in a release.
“But lack of exercise offers many more benefits other than weight loss or preventing obesity – such as better attention and learning in school and improved sense of well-being,” Davis said.
The poll’s results varied based on race/ethnicity. Hispanic adults were more likely to rate childhood obesity first (44 percent), followed by not enough exercise (38 percent), and also rated drug abuse higher than smoking and tobacco use.
Black adults had higher levels of concern about smoking and tobacco use, ranking that most often (43 percent). They also had high levels of concern about racial inequality, ranking it seventh on the list, and gun-related injuries, ranking that ninth.
Black and Hispanic adults both identified sexually transmitted infections as a greater concern for kids in their communities than did white adults.
“Child health varies across communities, and these results emphasize a need for local programs that respect and address community-specific health priorities for youth,” Davis said.
Get more information about the poll at this link.