Teens Need To Move It, Move It

Four in five adolescents worldwide do not get enough physical activity

The World Health Organization is painting a bleak health picture for adolescents if they don’t put down their screens and start exercising. The UN health agency released its first ever report on global trends for adolescent physical activity and the numbers are alarming.

From surveys conducted between 2001 and 2016 of 1.6 million students ages 11-16 in 146 countries, 81 per cent failed to meet the WHO recommendation of at least one hour a day of physical activity. This includes organized sports, riding a bike, playing or walking.

The WHO says urgent action is needed, noting regular physical activity provides a variety of health benefits and is a key tool to stem the global obesity epidemic.

The report found that 22 per cent of boys were getting the prescribed amount of physical activity compared to 15 per cent of girls. There are cultural factors at play according to the study. In some countries, girls are pressured to stay home and not participate in sports.

Even though many countries have set a target of reducing physical inactivity among adults and youth alike by 15 per cent between 2018 and 2030, one of the authors of the study said that’s going to be a challenge because reducing adolescent inactivity has dipped by only a percentage point over the last 15 years.