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Tiffany J. Chen, Kathleen B. Watson, Shannon L. Michael, and Susan A. Carlson

Background: During the past decade, guidelines for youth aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity remained unchanged. Active People, Healthy NationSM highlighted school and youth strategies (eg, sports and physical education [PE]) to increase physical activity. Sex, grade, and race/ethnicity disparities exist. This study examines sex-specific trends and differences by grade and race/ethnicity for the prevalence of 5 youth physical activity behaviors from 2009 to 2019. Methods: The national Youth Risk Behavior Survey assesses adolescents (grades 9–12) meeting the aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and both guidelines (2011–2019) and sports participation and daily PE (2009–2019). Sex-stratified logistic regression assessed trends and 2009 or 2011–2019 differences by grade and racial/ethnic subgroups. Results: Decreases in meeting the aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and both guidelines were observed for nearly all male subgroups by grade and race/ethnicity, whereas female subgroups exhibited declines or no change to low prevalence. Sports and PE participation remained mostly constant; select subgroups showed decreases (ie, Hispanic males [sports]; Black males and ninth-grade females [PE]). Conclusions: Past decade prevalence and patterns suggest that school-based and other strategies for all adolescents and tailored interventions for sex-specific subgroups may be needed to supplement sports and PE in promoting high school youth physical activity.

Open access

Tiffany J. Chen, Kathleen B. Watson, Shannon L. Michael, Jessica J. Minnaert, Janet E. Fulton, and Susan A. Carlson

Background: Healthy People 2030 includes objectives to increase meeting the aerobic physical activity guideline for ages 6–13 years (of ages 6–17 y, monitored by National Survey of Children’s Health [NSCH]) and grades 9 to 12 (mostly aged 14–18+ y, monitored by Youth Risk Behavior Survey [YRBS]). This study compares methodologies, prevalence, and patterns of meeting the guideline, particularly for overlapping ages 14–17 years. Methods: Nationally representative surveys, 2016–2017 NSCH (adult proxy report, 6–17 y) and 2015 and 2017 YRBS (self-report, grades 9–12), assess meeting the guideline of ≥60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity. Prevalence and odds ratios were estimated by age group and demographics. Results: For youth aged 14–17 years, 17.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.1–18.7; NSCH) and 27.0% (95% CI, 25.6–28.5; YRBS) met the guideline. 25.9% (95% CI, 24.8–27.2) aged 6–13 years (NSCH) and 26.6% (95% CI, 25.3–28.0) in grades 9 to 12 (YRBS) met the guideline. Across surveys, fewer females (P < .001) and Asian youth (P < .001 except among NSCH 14–17 y) met the guideline. Conclusions: Neither methodology nor estimates for meeting the aerobic guideline are similar across surveys, so age continuity between juxtaposed estimates should not be assumed by magnitude nor age for separate Healthy People 2030 youth physical activity objectives.