Children of all ages around the world are at higher heath risk due to decline in physical activity, a study led at the University of Strathclyde found.
According to the researchers, physical activity fell steadily from the age of four or five, in both boys and girls everywhere. Daily activity recorded a fall by three to four minutes each year overall although it remained higher during weekends and on holidays.
As per a previous Strathclyde-led research, physical activity in kids start tailing off as early as the age of seven.
Physical activity is not the same as exercise
World Health Organisation (WHO) defines physical activity as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure, including activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, travelling, and engaging in recreational pursuits”. Physical activity is not the same as exercise but a subcategory in it that is planned, structured and repetitive, as per WHO.
Talking about the benefits of physical activity, professor John Reilly of Strathclyde’s School of Psychological Sciences & Health said, “Higher levels of what is defined as moderate to vigorous physical activity in children improve their bone health, brain development and learning, levels of body fatness, cardiovascular and metabolic health and sleep.”
How much physical activity is essential for kids?
For children between five and 17 years of age, WHO recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity daily. This should include “activities that strengthen muscle and bone, at least three times per week.” Among the recommended physical activities are walking, cycling, quality physical education, sports and recreational activities.