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Physically active teens stay out of trouble

USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education), Jan, 2007

Physically active adolescents not only are improving their health, they are decreasing the
chance that they will get into trouble, states research out of the University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill.

Among teens who fare well are skateboarders, particularly regarding their self-esteem,
despite a lack of broad public support for this activity. The study found that teens who
participate in a wide variety of physical activities, especially with their parents, are at
decreased risk for drinking, abusing drugs, violent behavior, smoking, having sex, and
delinquency compared to those who watch television excessively.

"Adolescents who spend a lot of time watching TV or playing computer video games tend to
be at a higher risk for engaging in all these risky behaviors," contends Penny Gordon-Larsen,
assistant professor of nutrition.

"Anything we can do to get kids to be physically active will help them in terms of their
physical health, but this research suggests that engaging in a variety of activities also may
have social, emotional, and cognitive benefits.... It could be that active teens are being
exposed to more opportunities for team-building, engaging in more social interactions with
others, or seeing the benefits of hard work and practice."

COPYRIGHT 2007 Society for the Advancement of Education
COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

Youth Task Force of Martha's Vineyard