Chil­dren are less ac­tive than we once thought

The Casket - - Health&wellness - DR. COLIN MA­CLEOD, ND com­mu­ni­[email protected]

Phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is an es­sen­tial com­po­nent of a happy and healthy life for adults and chil­dren alike.

How­ever, there is con­cern that most of us, in­clud­ing our chil­dren, sim­ply aren’t get­ting enough ex­er­cise in or­der to ex­pe­ri­ence the full health ben­e­fits that come with phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

Past re­search has found that most peo­ple (in­clud­ing chil­dren) don’t meet the rec­om­mended daily phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity guide­lines set out here in Canada.

Stud­ies specif­i­cally ob­serv­ing phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in chil­dren may have been too short and ac­tu­ally over­es­ti­mated the per­cent­age of chil­dren who meet the daily phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity guide­lines.

New re­search, us­ing a wear­able ac­tiv­ity tracker, has ex­am­ined the seven-day phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity of 807 schoolchil­dren in Eng­land, U.K., aged nine to 10.

The goal of this re­search was to de­ter­mine the per­cent­age of chil­dren that achieved the rec­om­mended daily re­quire­ment for phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

For ref­er­ence, the phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity rec­om­men­da­tions in the United King­dom and in Canada are quite sim­i­lar.

The re­sults from this re­search have showed that more than 30 per cent of the chil­dren av­er­aged the rec­om­mended 60 min­utes of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity per day.

Ad­di­tion­ally, when the chil­dren’s daily phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity was ex­am­ined, only three per cent of chil­dren were found to be get­ting the rec­om­mended 60 min­utes of ex­er­cise ev­ery sin­gle day.

“Our find­ings sug­gest that just un­der a third of chil­dren are achiev­ing an av­er­age of 60 min­utes per day, but only 3.2 per cent meet the 60-minute tar­get ev­ery day,” said Dr. Lisa Price, of the Univer­sity of Ex­eter in Eng­land.

The re­searchers point out that while past re­search has found that chil­dren are not get­ting enough ex­er­cise, their con­clu­sions have been overly op­ti­mistic and that chil­dren are even less ac­tive than was re­ported pre­vi­ously due to in­com­plete data.

Many of th­ese pre­vi­ous stud­ies only recorded ac­tiv­ity for a few days at a time and may not have in­cluded week­ends.

“Pre­vi­ous stud­ies based on av­er­age ac­tiv­ity are likely to have over­es­ti­mated the per­cent­age of chil­dren meet­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions. We do know that most chil­dren aren't do­ing enough phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, and that this has con­se­quences not just in child­hood, but in adult­hood, too,” added Dr. Price.

If you would like to learn more about stay­ing ac­tive and about your rec­om­mended amount of daily phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, check out the Cana­dian Phys­i­cal Ac­tiv­ity Guide­lines, re­leased by the Cana­dian So­ci­ety for Ex­er­cise Phys­i­ol­ogy at csepguide­lines.ca.

123RF

New re­search states that chil­dren and adults are get­ting less phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity than ex­pected.

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