Fewer teens met moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic than before the pandemic, according to a study published online Dec. 27 in Preventive Medicine Reports.
Jason M. Nagata, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues used data from 5,153 participants (ages 10 to 14 years) in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study to assess adolescents’ MVPA during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The researchers found that median MVPA was two hours per week. The percentage of teens meeting MVPA guidelines decreased from 16.1 percent (prepandemic) to 8.9 percent during the pandemic. Meeting MVPA guidelines during the pandemic was less frequent among racial/ethnic minorities and adolescents from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. There was an association observed between poorer mental health, COVID-19-related worry, and stress with lower MVPA. More social support and coping behaviors were associated with higher MVPA during the pandemic.
“Physical activity can support young people’s physical and mental health,” Nagata said in a statement. “We found that teens who were more active during the pandemic reported stronger emotional well-being and felt more socially connected to others.”
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