“The changes are very similar for boys and girls and also for various ages,” but differed by geographic region, Tomkinson said.
The decline in fitness seems to be leveling off in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and perhaps in the last few years in North America. However, it continues to fall in China, and Japan never had much falloff — fitness has remained fairly consistent there. About 20 million of the 25 million children in the studies were from Asia.
Tomkinson and Daniels said obesity likely plays a role, since it makes it harder to run or do any aerobic exercise. Too much time watching television and playing video games and unsafe neighborhoods with not enough options for outdoor play also may play a role, they said.
Other research discussed global declines in activity.
Fitness is “pretty poor in adults and even worse in young people,” especially in the United States and eastern Europe, said Dr. Ulf Ekelund of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, Norway.
World Health Organization numbers suggest that 80 percent of young people globally may not be getting enough exercise.
Healthy lifestyle guidelines: http://bit.ly/16ZnV7e
Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP