4 in 5 Adolescents Worldwide Don't Exercise Enough

Grant Boone
November 24, 2019

Boys in the Philippines and girls in South Korea were the most inactive, while Bangladesh had the lowest rates of physical inactivity for both genders, according to the WHO-led study.

Girls are much less attractive than boys in 142 of the 146 countries studied - collectively with the United Kingdom, where 75 per cent of boys and 85 per cent of ladies accomplish not accomplish sufficient exercise.

"Urgent policy action to increase physical activity is needed now, particularly to promote and retain girls' participation in physical activity", one author of the study, Dr Regina Guthold, from World Health Organization said. The study says that these activities will have significant effects on improving cardiovascular and muscular fitness, bone and cardiometabolic health and weight. There is also growing evidence that physical activity benefits brain health and social skills. Existing evidence suggests that many of these benefits will continue into adulthood, according to the WHO.

AROUND seven in ten Irish adolescents fail to get the recommended daily amount of physical activity, according to a major global report.

They also flagged that as it included information from school-going 11 to 17-year-olds only, due to lack of data for out-of-school adolescents which may skew the results for some developing countries.

The researchers looked at all types of physical activity, from active domestic chores to active play, PE in school, and sports.

The WHO is urging policymakers globally to act now, and introduce policies and legislation aimed at increasing physical activity.

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The vast majority of the world's children are not getting enough physical exercise - and technology is one of the factors that may be to blame, according to an inaugural study Friday that detailed trends over a 15-year period among more than 1.6 million people in almost 150 nations. Three years ago, 64 percent of USA boys and 81 percent of US girls reported insufficient activity.

This, she said, seems to explain the fact that the biggest gender gap could be found in the United States and Ireland, where the difference in activity levels between boys and girls was over 15 percentage points.

The research shows that physical activity levels in girls and boys aged 11 to 17 years are significantly insufficient to sustain good health; girls' participation in physical activity are especially low.

In Ireland, 64% of boys fail to meet the physical daily activity recommendation, a fall from the 71% in 2001. This target was agreed to by all countries at the World Health Assembly in 2018. This means young people spend more time on phones, tablets and other screens instead of outdoor activities and exercising.

The situation is a lot worse for girls, who get much less exercise than boys, leading to calls for urgent policy intervention.

"Comprehensive action requires engagement with multiple sectors and stakeholders, including schools, families, sport and recreation providers, urban planners, and city and community leaders", Dr Bull added.

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