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Why today’s kids are such lazy sloths

By From page A2 | July 27, 2014

This will come as no surprise to anyone who has listened to baby boomers complain about their kids: Today’s children are less fit than their parents were at the same age.

We knew it!

That information comes from research that looked at 50 fitness studies conducted between 1964 and 2010. It found that today’s kids run slower and have less endurance than their past counterparts.

That’s exactly what I told my kids when they were growing up: They would never be as fast as I was or have as much endurance. There was no way for them to check.

(Also impossible to check: My claim that everyone at school dances would gather around me and clap while I busted a move, and my claim that other students chanted my name every day when I arrived at school. As far as my sons know, I was like a cool character in a Disney Channel show.)

Researchers found that worldwide, kids’ cardiovascular fitness declined by 5 percent every decade since 1975, which coincidentally was the same year that “Baretta” debuted on ABC-TV. So you could make a case that actor Robert Blake is responsible for the slide in fitness – and that’s the name of that tune!

Of course, the terrifying implication is that the people who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s aren’t exactly physical marvels as they enter the September of their lives (how’s that for an optimistic, misty-colored view of life?). If my generation is a bunch of sloths in our twilight years, what will our children look like?

Will they track their time in the mile with a calendar? Will they measure their endurance by seeing how long they can surf the Web?

Perhaps part of the problem is TV.

When I was a preteen, I watched such brilliant TV fare as “The Superstars” (where professional athletes raced old-fashioned bikes and floundered in the water in “races”) and “Battle of the Network Stars” (where Robert Conrad and Gabe Kaplan ran 400-yard races and Dick Van Patten played tennis). The result of that televised fare? Obstacle courses and other TV-inspired games in my backyard with neighbor kids.

Kids watching TV today see reality shows that highlight personal drama and plenty of laziness. If they imitate it, the only fitness required is to attack someone like on “The Jerry Springer Show.”

Heck, even many of the competition shows are about cooking. For exercise, a modern kid makes cupcakes.

No wonder they’re in such bad shape.

In a world where people in their 40s, 50s and 60s are being pushed aside by punks who tweet and Instagram and play on the Xbox, it’s nice to have something to hold over them.

We might be unable to differentiate between rap stars. We might not be able to use our smartphones to Skype with friends. We might be guilty of dropping Robert Blake catch phrases into a column 40 years after they were relevant.

But we were more fit!

On second thought, there is at least one thing in common between the TV my generation watched and that watched by today’s generation: Bruce Jenner. He was an athlete in the goofy competition shows and now he’s an honorary Kardashian.

As Tony Baretta says, you can take that to the bank!

Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope is a former Daily Republic editor. He began his career at the DR in the last millennium. He spent 24 years as a sports editor, associate editor and news editor before leaving the Daily Republic in 2014. Brad lives in Suisun City with his wife, Mrs. Brad, and two sons. He enjoys cheese.

Discussion | 21 comments

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  • CuriouslyJuly 27, 2014 - 4:49 am

    The title of your article is rude. I did not read the article because I couldn't believe a grown man was fat shaming children, even if the article has beneficial information.

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  • janetJuly 27, 2014 - 7:42 am

    I agree with you Curiously.

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  • Carolyn KeeneJuly 27, 2014 - 12:33 pm

    I think you are both being great Nancy(s)..... she says mysteriously.......

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  • Bob C. TwinsJuly 27, 2014 - 1:08 pm

    I agree with Carolyn

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  • Richard N. JainJuly 28, 2014 - 8:00 am

    Readers........ Do you agree with me? ..... That I sally forth first thing on Sunday morning to read this spot in the Daily Republic.... I always want to ... see (this) spot run..... run spot run.... it is always very enjoyable!

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  • N. Drew BurymoreJuly 28, 2014 - 8:24 am

    I like horror novels myself.....

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  • S. KingJuly 28, 2014 - 8:26 am

    I like Scarry stories....

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  • Richard ScarryJuly 28, 2014 - 8:31 am

    Just wanted to say thank you Stephen... It's a Busy Busy World....have to phone home now.... Bye!

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  • GinaJuly 27, 2014 - 1:44 pm

    They are lazy and its a proven fact that the kids these days have no endurance and they can look right at their parents for being that way. Fat and lazy. The truth hurts, if you don't agree then I suggest you get off the couch and get out and see how many or better yet, lack of kids are out ridding a bike or playing games in the park these days. the answer is NONE, ZERO, Notta. So if your hurt as you said by his title then then your living in a fake world. reality is always hurtful to those living under rocks. have parents stop buying video games and start buy outdoor stuff to do. have parents of 10 year olds stop buying smart phones so their lazy kid can sit around all day face booking. Think about it and when you wake up from what you see as the dream world you will see and smell the facts.

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  • The SugarJarJuly 27, 2014 - 8:09 am

    I read the article. Not fat shaming. Lazy shaming, if you can't see his humor. It's easier to see when actually read.

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  • JudyJuly 27, 2014 - 8:51 am

    I found it ironic and funny that someone would be too lazy to read the article about being lazy and just post a comment on the title of the article. I think Brad's writing is halarious and I would like to think he took "Curiously" with the sense of humor it deserved but who know? maybe he is too lazy to read the comments.......LOL

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  • Brad StanhopeJuly 27, 2014 - 2:39 pm

    My potential laziness in responding to comments is overcome by my egotistical desire to see if anyone commented. So yes, I read the comments.

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  • Typical County WorkerJuly 27, 2014 - 9:11 am

    Well since it is hard to keep a growing kid in bullet proof vests and can't eliminate every molester and kidnapper, they are stuck inside. Can't walk or ride bikes to school. They are doomed to be more sedentary than prior generations. Now it's "when I was your age I could walk to school" not the old "I had to walk both ways uphill in the snow to get to school"

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  • Mayor SanchezJuly 27, 2014 - 9:28 am

    Good article. Who said fact and humor combination is non-achievable?Kudos to you Brad. Now, having started my day with good reading ,I'll venture outside for a leisurely senior citizen 3 mile jog ( it's more walk than jog) to shake off that steak and shrimp buffet guilty feeling from yesterday.

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  • Ulises S. GuberJuly 27, 2014 - 10:45 am

    excuse me, but where is this steak and shrimp buffet , I want to be there....

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  • Mayor SanchezJuly 27, 2014 - 1:40 pm

    @ulises. $19.99 steak and shrimp buffet Saturdays at Cache Creek in Capay Valley 40 minutes from Fairfield. : )

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  • Ulises S. GuberJuly 27, 2014 - 10:38 am

    Kids today don't watch TV like we do, they have too many avenues for entertainment X-box, play station and youtube , so TV alone is not to blame, it's us, mom and dad we need to pull a few plugs and shut down the WiFi now and then go on Family outings , get involved , play board games and encourage your kids to take up sports , get the family to ride bikes together...

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  • antiBOB,jazzAZZJuly 27, 2014 - 10:42 am

    They're dumber too.

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  • Hunter G. AtherrsJuly 27, 2014 - 11:33 am

    Yes, todays' kids are spoiled..they never have to worry about looking for their next meal.

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  • Fix the Broken Sewer Pipe NowJuly 27, 2014 - 4:16 pm

    I strongly agree with the idea that the President of the USA and the Congress of the USA and every state government in the USA should fix the broken sewer pipe which is spewing sewing into the USA.

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  • Fix the Broken Sewer Pipe NowJuly 27, 2014 - 4:18 pm

    .....spewing sewage....

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