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Nation's Children Not Shaping Up, Government Says

Young Americans are falling short of fitness goals set for them in 1980 by the President's Council on Physical Fitness as part of a plan to improve the general health levels by 1990.

One of the goals was to have 60 percent of the nation's children enrolled in daily physical-education classes by 1990, but thus far only 36 percent of children ages 10 to 17 are involved in such classes, according to federal health officials.

Furthermore, officials say, the current figure represents an increase of only 3 percent over 1980 levels.

A recent status report on the 1990 "Objectives for the Nation," involving 15 areas of health, also notes that the number of children between ages 10 and 17 with a regular cardio-respiratory fitness program that they can follow in adulthood will have to rise by another 24 percent to reach the projected 1990 goal. Currently, an estimated 66 percent of the nation's children participate in such a program.

According to the Dr. Kenneth E. Powell of the federal Centers for Disease Control, however, the current statistics are not cause for alarm, because at the time the goals were developed little information existed on the nation's overall level of physical fitness. Although the possibility of either children or adults achieving the federal fitness goals in five years is slim, he acknowledged, officials now have better information on which to base more realistic goals for the year 2000.

The report is contained in the CDC's Aug. 30 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Vol. 05, Issue 02, Page 2

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