Majority of teens spending hours every day sitting still

80% of people aged between eleven and sixteen spend two or more hours a day sitting still playing on phones, watching TV or travelling in cars.

Swansea University reports this statistic is revealed as part of a special report card which gives young people an F for sedentary behaviour. The figure rises to 87% weekends. The research has been carried out by Active Healthy Kids Wales (AHK-Wales) which aims to monitor the lifestyles and behaviours of children, and has prepared its third annual report card.

AHK-Wales project lead Gareth Stratton, Professor of Paediatric Exercise Science at Swansea University, said “Wales is in the bottom third when it comes to physical activity against like for like countries, but even worse we’re winning medals for the amount of time children spend sitting.”

The card reveals other areas for concern including a D plus for active transportation, with 56% of children not walking or cycling to school every day. Wales only scores a C minus for active play, with 41% of five to seventeen year olds playing out most days.

The Welsh report card was launched in Adelaide on November 26th alongside the results from countries around the world collected by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance. This advocacy group, made up of representatives from forty nine countries, aims to promote healthy and active lifestyles in children.

The AHK-Wales 2018 report card was produced by an expert group consisting of academics, postgraduate researchers, professionals and practitioners, including Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Sustrans, Play Wales, Sport Wales and the National Dance Company Wales.

Gareth Stratton said at a time when a new school curriculum is being developed as well as the Welsh Government’s Prosperity for All national strategy, the most basic of behaviours to create a vibrant and happy, engaged child continue to erode. He said society’s current obsession to fight obesity means inactivity and its consequences is often overlooked.

He said “Physical inactivity ranks one place above obesity in the all-cause mortality rankings in the World Health Organisation table of risks to health…It’s a sad fact that children’s life expectancies today will be less than their parents, but more importantly in the here and now, the very nature of active play, curiosity, exploration through physical movement and its contribution to health child development is basic human right that has lost any value in this materially derived technological sanitised world.”

Further details can be found here.

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