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PSY FPX 6030 Assessment 3 Lack of Physical Activity: The Impact on Adolescent Health


Capella University

PSY FPX 6030 Adolescent Psychology

Prof. Name



Only 25% of adolescents meet the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise advised by the American Heart Association. The lack of physical activity has widespread negative effects on adolescent health. Factors like location, available resources, and socioeconomic status greatly affect the level of physical activity among adolescents. Public schools can play a critical role in addressing this issue by enhancing physical activity programs while maintaining academic standards. By using innovative, cost-effective, and practical methods, schools can implement diverse strategies to engage students who do not thrive with traditional approaches or organized sports. Promoting increased physical activity can benefit adolescents from various backgrounds, improving not just physical health but also autonomy, self-identity, executive function skills, social abilities, self-regulation, and mental well-being.

Negative Impacts on Adolescent Health

Lack of regular exercise during adolescence is linked to numerous health issues, such as increased risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol levels, obesity, and reduced fitness levels. Insufficient physical activity also negatively impacts brain gray matter volume, potentially causing cognitive impairments and other complications (Kokubun et al., 2021). The COVID-19 pandemic worsened this issue, significantly reducing moderate to vigorous physical activity among adolescents aged 10-14 (Nagata et al., 2022).

Addressing Physical Activity Decline in Schools

While elementary schools typically mandate recess and physical education (P.E.) classes, this emphasis decreases during adolescence, with fewer required recess periods and elective P.E. classes. Shockingly, nearly half of American teenagers do not participate in any P.E. classes weekly, and only slightly more than half engage in at least one sports team (Zimlich, 2018). This decline in physical activity is especially noticeable in low-income communities and among racial and ethnic minorities, highlighting the need for targeted interventions (Fessler et al., 2014; Nagata et al., 2022).

Integrating Academics with Physical Activity

Combining academics with physical activity offers a promising solution to the lack of exercise among adolescents. Regular physical activity not only improves physical health but also positively affects mental well-being by reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety and enhancing executive function skills and academic performance (Jarbin et al., 2021; Hilton et al., 2020). Given the substantial amount of time adolescents spend in school, educational institutions are ideal settings to promote physical activity while supporting cognitive and social development.

PSY FPX 6030 Assessment 3 Lack of Physical Activity: The Impact on Adolescent Health


In summary, the majority of American adolescents do not meet the recommended levels of physical activity, posing significant health risks. Public schools have a crucial role in reversing this trend by implementing innovative, research-based strategies to increase physical activity while maintaining academic rigor. By integrating physical activity into the school curriculum, educators can enhance physical health, cognitive development, social skills, and mental well-being among adolescents.


Fessler, M. M., Selimos, M., Williams, B., & Fessler, K. B. (2014). Barriers to exercise for low-income teens. Journal of Adolescent Health, 54(2), 1-16.

Guthold, R., Stevens, G. A., Riley, L. M., & Bull, F. C. (2019). Global trends in insufficient physical activity among adolescents: a pooled analysis of 298 population-based surveys with 1.6 million participants. Lancet Child Adolescence Health, 4(1), 23-35.

Jarbin, H., Höglund, K., Skarphedinsson, G., & Bremander, A. (2021). Aerobic exercise for adolescent outpatients with persistent major depression: Feasibility and acceptability of moderate to vigorous group exercise in a clinically referred sample. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 26(4), 954–967.

Lee, K., & Lee, K. (2020). Relationship of friend/parent exercise participation levels and adolescents’ exercise intention/behavior as moderated by action control. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 127(2), 347–366.

Shimoga, S. V., Erlyana, E., & Rebello, V. (2019). Associations of social media use with physical activity and sleep adequacy among adolescents: Cross-sectional survey. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(6), 14290.

Sibold, J., Edwards, E. M., O’Neil, L., & Close, D. M. (2019). Bullying environment moderates the relationship between exercise and mental health in bullied U.S. children. Journal of School Health, 90(3), 194-199.

Staiano, A., Kihm, H. S., & Sandoval, P. (2018). The use of competition to elicit vigorous intensity physical activity during children’s exergame play. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 110(3), 39-47.

PSY FPX 6030 Assessment 3 Lack of Physical Activity: The Impact on Adolescent Health

Woodforde, J., Alsop, T., Salmon, J., Gomersall, S., & Stylianou, M. (2021). Effects of school-based before-school physical activity programmes on children’s physical activity levels, health and learning-related outcomes: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine

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