A study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that insufficient physical activity among teenagers across the world has made them more prone to heart diseases. More than 80% of school-going adolescents, between the age of 11-17, do not spend even an hour (the minimum recommendation) on any physical activity.
The study, based on data from 1.6 million people in 146 countries, says that there is an urgent need to increase physical activity levels and recommends to spend time in active play, recreation and sports, domestic chores, walking and cycling or other types of active transportation. These improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone and cardiometabolic health, and positive effects on weight.
“The study highlights that young people have the right to play and should be provided with the opportunities to realise their right to physical and mental health and wellbeing,” co-author Dr Fiona Bull, WHO, said.
In 2001, when the study was conducted, insufficient physical activity among boys was said to be 80% while in girls it was 85%. As of now, the figure stands at 78% for boys, but there is no change over time in girls.
Philippines ranks almost last when it comes to physical activity among teenagers, India, along with Bangladesh and the US, has lowest levels of insufficient activity in boys. In India and Bangladesh especially, major focus is given on sports and hence, the percentage is better in these countries.
The countries showing the greatest decreases in boys being insufficiently active were Bangladesh (from 73% to 63%), Singapore (78% to 70%), Thailand (78% to 70%), Benin (79% to 71%), Ireland (71% to 64%), and the USA (71% to 64%). However, among girls, changes were small, ranging from a 2 percentage-point decrease in Singapore (85% to 83%) to a 1 percentage-point increase in Afghanistan (87% to 88%), the study added.