Over all, only 42 percent [of young people] were as fit as they should have been, given their age, and that percentage fell precipitously among girls. Less than 34 percent of the female participants had fitness levels that would set them within the healthy fitness zone, the testing showed, compared with about 50 percent of boys.
Ethnicity and family income played no discernible role in the volunteers’ fitness, according to the data. Those from affluent families were as likely to be out of shape as those from families below the poverty line.
The findings grew bleaker when researchers compared the fitness of the group in 2012 to that of similarly aged volunteers from 1999 to 2004. The average fitness of the boys and girls, they found, had declined by about 10 percent since 2004. [NYT]