An important national health goal is to decrease the rate of sedentary living among Americans. Current baseline data suggest that 40% of those 18 and over do no regular leisure physical activity. Many studies suggest that there is a low to moderate relationship among youth activity and sedentary living. Some believe that getting the physical activity patterns of youth to “track” to adulthood could be the solution to reducing adult sedentary living. However, because activity generally decreases with age, a more important goal is to “untrack” activity. Specifically, steps must be taken in adolescence to help teens get “untracked” from their ever-decreasing activity levels. To accomplish this we must teach activities that will “track” to adulthood and teach self-management skills that can lead to a lifetime of active living.
The author is with the Department of Exercise and Wellness at Arizona State University-East, Mesa, AZ 85212. This paper is based on a presentation made to the North American Society for Pediatric Exercise Science, August 2000.