Physical Activity Low Among Immigrant Children

Children who immigrate to the U.S. seem to exercise less and participate in fewer sports than their U.S.-born peers, according to a government study.

In a national study of more than 68,000 children between the ages of 6 and 17, researchers found that immigrant children were generally less physically active than those born in the U.S.

Among Hispanic immigrant children, for example, 22 percent were sedentary, versus 9.5 percent of white U.S.-born children.

However, Hispanic children who were born in the U.S. and had U.S.-born parents were more likely to be regularly active; 68 percent reported regular exercise, while just under 15 percent were sedentary.

Among immigrant children of all ethnicities, more than one-third were not meeting the exercise levels recommended for children and teens, the study found.

Past studies, the researchers note, have shown that immigrants to the U.S. often have certain “health advantages” over natives that tend to fade as they become more assimilated: traditional diets are replaced by fast food, leisure time is increasingly devoted to TV and computers.

The reverse seems to be true when it comes to physical activity. Research has suggested that immigrant adults tend to exercise more as they become more acculturated.

Read more at Reuters