This morning’s paper had a wire story about a study showing that kids get less exercise as they get older. Obviously it’s full of the nonsense you’ve come to expect; the headline I read talked about “lazy” kids, the article says that teenagers are “sluggish.” There’s no mention made of the piles of work and responsibilities that are heaped on American teens, which tend to curtail activity (at least until some genius riding the lucrative wave of the OMG Child Obesity Epidemic invents a way to study for the SATs while pounding a treadmill). The study looked at whether kids were achieving government-recommended levels of activity, which means an hour a day every day — an incredibly demanding schedule for someone with an adult-sized workload.
And naturally, the problems with the article don’t stop there. While the decline in gym class quantity is blamed, nobody talks about gym class quality — specifically, that particular quality gym class has of making you hate exercise forever (or at least until you discover HAES and realize that exercise isn’t punishment). Computers and video games are villainized even though the study compares younger children with older children, not children today and children a few decades ago. And it’s not too bad in the AP treatment, but other reports I read committed the standard fallacy that crops up in every article like this: focusing on childhood obesity as the consequence of the findings (and pushing anti-obesity programs as the solution), as though there’s no benefit in having active kids if those kids aren’t also thin.
That’s all standard fare. It’s amazing we manage to keep the blog running when this is what people come out with; I rarely read an OMG Obesity article anymore that doesn’t read just like some other article we already ranted about. But here’s the part that boggled me:
CHICAGO (AP) — One of the largest studies of its kind shows just how sluggish American children become once they hit the teen years: While 90 percent of 9-year-olds get a couple of hours of exercise most days, fewer than 3 percent of 15-year-olds do.
HOLD THE FUCKING PHONE. 90 percent of 9-year-olds get a couple of hours of exercise a day? What about all the fat children, the ones who everyone knows are so clearly a crisis? The ones who are emblematic of our decaying societal morals? The ones who are going to die younger than their parents? What about those criminally sedentary face-stuffing disease-courting youngsters we keep hearing about? What about the young victims of the Killer Sofa?
Apparently they’ve been out running around and playing with the other kids all this time.