A global study finds that the US ranks low for youth fitness, coming in at 47th out of 50 countries.
According to researchers at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the University of North Dakota, the United States is at the bottom of the list, while Canada comes in 19th. The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The strong indicator for average physical fitness was income inequality. A large gap between the rich and poor was linked to the nation’s children as a whole being less fit.
“If all the kids in the world were to line up for a race, the average American child would finish at the foot of the field,” said Dr. Grant Tomkinson, an associate professor at the University of North Dakota. “Canada, on the other hand, fared moderately well placing just above middle of the pack. This study is the largest of its kind so it’s exciting to have this evidence at hand.”
The top five countries according to the data are Tanzania, Iceland, Estonia, Norway and Japan. The least fit was Mexico. Nations with the smallest gap between rich and poor tended to have more physically fit children.