A new WHO led study suggests that every four in five young children, globally, are not exercising enough as recommended at their age. The study is first of its kind that assesses the sufficiency of physical activity amongst adolescents.
The study results show that more than 80% of school-going children globally do not meet the prescribed recommendations of a minimum one hour of physical activity/day. It includes 78% of boys and 85 % of girls. It was conducted for 146 countries and studied the data between 2001 – 2016 for 1.6 million 11 to 17-year-old school going students.
The authors conducted the study by analyzing the data collected through school-based surveys on physical activity levels. The assessment included all types of physical activity, such as recreation and sports, time spent in active play, walking and cycling, etc.
A physically active lifestyle is important during adolescence. Its health benefits include improved bone and cardiometabolic health, cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and positive effects on weight. Physical activity has been also known to have a positive impact on cognitive development and socializing. Many of these benefits continue into adulthood, as suggested by current evidence.
These adolescents are our future and actions are needed to be taken to improve levels of physical activity among them to ensure their good health and sound mental balance. The study recommends a multi-sectoral action and scaling up of policies and programmes focused on the improvement of levels in physical activity at national, state and local levels.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Western Australia, WHO, and the Imperial College London. This study was published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.
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