1. Headline
  1. Headline
By
updated 8/20/2012 6:25:19 PM ET 2012-08-20T22:25:19

Lack of exercise tops the list of the biggest concerns about kids' health, according to a new survey of American adults. The plight of young couch potatoes outranked teen pregnancy and drug abuse as problems that adults are concerned about, according to the survey.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. TODAY's Takeaway: Savannah won't 'overshare'; rapping medic cracks up anchors

      Etiquette expert Thomas Farley guides the anchors — including expectant mother Savannah — on what’s acceptable for parents...

    2. Chelsea Clinton is pregnant! Former first daughter expecting first child this year
    3. After helpful mom accidentally steals car, rightful owner is found
    4. Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87
    5. Cool cats! Laid-back felines star in #catband music videos

Not getting enough exercise was ranked a "big problem" by 39 percent of adults surveyed, followed closely by childhood obesity (38 percent) and smoking and tobacco use (34 percent), according to the findings from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

In last year’s survey, childhood obesity topped the list, while “not enough opportunities for physical activities” didn’t even make the top 10. The jump in the adults' concern about exercise may be due recent public health messages focused at this topic, researchers said.

"Childhood obesity remains a top concern, and adults know it is certainly linked to lack of exercise," Matthew Davis, director of poll, said in a statement. "But exercise offers many more benefits other than weight loss or preventing obesity — such as better attention and learning in school and improved sense of well-being," Davis said.

The annual survey results also revealed that 33 percent of adults rated drug abuse as a big problem for children's health, and 29 percent listed bullying as a major concern.

Rounding out the bottom half of the top 10 concerns were stress (27 percent), alcohol abuse (23 percent), teen pregnancy (23 percent), Internet safety (22 percent) and child abuse and neglect (20 percent). The polling sample is representative of the U.S. adult population.

The poll’s results varied with respondents' races and ethnicities. Childhood obesity was the top concern (44 percent) among Hispanic adults, followed by not enough exercise (38 percent).

Black adults listed smoking and tobacco use as their biggest concern (43 percent). They also were more worried about racial inequality, which ranked seventh on their list, and gun-related injuries, which ranked ninth. Both black and Hispanic adults said sexually transmitted infections were a greater concern for kids in their communities than did white adults.

But Hispanic, black and white adults all said that not enough exercise and obesity were two of their top three health concerns for kids in their communities.

More from LiveScience:

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

More on TODAY.com

TODAY's Takeaway
  1. TODAY

    Savannah won’t ‘overshare’; rapping medic cracks up anchors

    4/17/2014 8:38:13 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T20:38:13
  1. After helpful mom accidentally steals car, rightful owner is found

    When Nekisia Davis asked her mom to move her car and her friends' cars while she went on vacation, she didn't expect that she would instead accidentally move the wrong car, prompting the rightful owner to believe her car was stolen.

    4/17/2014 9:14:16 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T21:14:16
  1. Macy's

    Swimmer Ryan Lochte dives into underwear modeling

    4/17/2014 6:29:23 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T18:29:23
  1. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

    Chelsea Clinton is pregnant! Former first daughter expecting first child this year

    4/17/2014 10:32:13 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T22:32:13
  1. Edgard Garrido / Reuters

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    4/17/2014 8:24:21 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T20:24:21
  1. Have you tried an elimination diet? Weigh in on the food fad

    Could eliminating certain foods from your diet prevent allergies, fatigue, or headaches? Some people think so.

    4/17/2014 8:30:46 PM +00:00 2014-04-17T20:30:46