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Curr Sports Med Rep. 2013 Jul-Aug;12(4):248-55. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31829a74cd.

Exercise deficit disorder in youth: a paradigm shift toward disease prevention and comprehensive care.

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Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


Despite the widely recognized benefits of daily play, recreation, sports, and physical education on the physical and psychosocial well-being of children and adolescents, many contemporary children and adolescents worldwide do not meet the recommendations for daily physical activity (PA). The decline in PA seems to start early in life, which leads to conditions characterized by reduced levels of PA in the pediatric population that are inconsistent with current public health recommendations. Unlike many other diseases and disorders in pediatrics, physical inactivity in youth is unique in that it currently lacks a clinical gold standard for diagnosis. This makes the diagnosis and treatment medically challenging, though no less important, as the resultant ramifications of a missed diagnosis are of significant detriment. Exercise-deficient children need to be identified early in life and treated with developmentally appropriate exercise programs designed to target movement deficiencies and physical weaknesses in a supportive environment. Without such interventions early in life, children are more likely to become resistant to our interventions later in life and consequently experience adverse health consequences. Integrative approaches that link health care professionals, pediatric exercise specialists, school administrators, community leaders, and policy makers may provide the best opportunity to promote daily PA, reinforce desirable behaviors, and educate parents about the exercise-health link.

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