It's no secret that children tend to get less active as they grow up and by the time they're adults, being active becomes more and more of a task. A new study has now found that physical activity levels drop significantly during primary school years for kids. As per the research, kids between the ages of 6-11 became less active by 17 minutes every year.
They conducted their research by monitoring the physical activity of 2,132 children from 57 schools between 2012 and 2018 while the children wore an accelerometer for five days. Owing to this gadget, they were able to figure out how many minutes per day the children opted for moderate to vigorous physical activity that not only got them breathless but also sweating.
The results were shocking. In year 1, nearly 61% of the kids did at least one hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) whereas, by year 6, the number had reduced to 41%. And the drop was even more significant for girls whose numbers dropped from 54% to 28% by the time they were done with primary school.
"We saw marked differences in physical activity levels between boys and girls, with girls engaging in less MVPA and more sedentary time on both weekdays and weekends than boys at age six," the study says. "Girls' MVPA also declined at a faster rate, so that the gap between boys and girls increases between ages 6 and 11."
"These numbers prove that more needs be done to ensure children keep active as they approach adolescence. This isn't about getting children to exercise more, but rather maintaining their activity levels. Developing early intervention strategies that help children retain activity levels could include after-school physical activity programmes, focusing on participation and enjoyment in addition to popular sports - and a greater emphasis on promoting weekend activities," say experts.
"We know that children living with obesity are more likely to become obese adults - putting them at increased risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases and their risk factors, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, later in life. Staying active must be combined with policies that help families make healthy and informed choices, such as a 21:00 watershed on junk food marketing and restricting the promotion of unhealthy foods."