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YRBS High School Results: Grades 9 - 12
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Section 6: Physical Activity


Background

Regular physical activity can increase life expectancy11. Physical activity can also enhance mental health and self-esteem, of particular benefit to adolescents12. As with nutrition, development of good exercise habits in childhood and adolescence which are maintained into adulthood can prevent or delay many chronic diseases.

Note: Since the publication of the 1995 YRBS report, the office of the U.S. Surgeon General released its first report on the relationship between physical activity and Health 13. The report finds that the benefits of physical activity, both long and short-term, begin in youth.


Vigorous Physical Activity

Among Alaska high school students, 77.9% of boys and 65.6% of girls participated in vigorous physical activity on 3 or more of the 7 days prior to the survey. Alaska girls, are more likely to report vigorous physical activity than are U.S. students.

Participated in Vigorous Physical Activity*


* Exercised or participated in sports activities for at least
20 minutes that caused sweating and heavy breathing,
on 3 or more of the past 7 days.


Vigorous Physical Activity

Among both boys and girls in Alaska, the proportion reporting vigorous exercise decreases with increasing grade level. The decrease is most apparent among girls.

Participated in Vigorous Physical Activity*


* Exercised or participated in sports activities for at least
20 minutes that caused sweating and heavy breathing,
on 3 or more of the past 7 days.


Other Participation in Physical Activity

Approximately 50% of Alaska high school students participate in physical education classes. Participation decreases with increasing grade; 65.9% of ninth graders attend PE classes, whereas 42.0% of 12th graders attend PE classes (data not shown). Boys more commonly report muscle strengthening exercises than girls (61.6% of boys and 48.5% of girls). Similar percentages of boys and girls report stretching exercises. Alaska and U.S. students are similar for participation in these exercises.

Physical Education Class, Stretching and Strengthening Exercises


                  a) Attended PE class one or more days in an average school week.
                  b) Exercises to strengthen or tone muscles on 3 of the past 7 days.
                  c) Stretching exercises on 3 of the past 7 days.

Other Participation in Physical Activity

Among Alaska high school students, 42.8% walked or bicycled (at least 30 minutes on 3 of the past 7 days); the percentage of students walking and bicycling also decreases with increasing grade level. About half of all high school students report participating on at least one school sponsored sports team in the past 12 months.

Participation in Other Exercises


              a) Walked or bicycled for at least 30 minutes on 3 of the past 7 days.
              b) Played on 1 or more sports teams sponsored by the school in the past 12 months.
              c) Played on one or more sports teams run by organizations outside the school in the past 12 months.

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