Four-out-of-five teenagers do not get the recommended amount of physical activity each day, and the consequences to their health are devastating. Girls, especially, need more daily physical exercise.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that teenagers engage in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day. The WHO's guidelines are based on scientific research studies which show how exercise is essential for heart health, respiratory fitness, and proper cognitive function. Kids who get the recommended amount are physically healthier and easily learn more. Unfortunately, most teenagers do not get the suggested amount.
The WHO's recent report on teenage physical activity, says that 80 percent of teens worldwide, are not getting the recommended daily amount. This is concerning, because of the related health problems and decreased cognitive function.
Girls fared worse in the report, with 85 percent failing to meet the recommendations, compared to 78 percent of boys. Boys also showed a decrease over time (meaning that more boys were getting the recommended amount than previously) while the statistics regarding girls remained steady.
There are several reasons why teenagers today are not getting enough physical exercise, but one stands out as primary. Teens today are addicted to their electronic devices, so they are spending most of their time tapping screens, instead of running laps. Social media and video games take up so much of a teenager's time, that they end up staying inactive. It's also important to note, that teens opt for their phones or computers, instead of going out and breathing some fresh air. So they might need a push for their caring and concerned parents and/or guardians.
Another possible reason for sedentary lifestyles in teenagers, as cited by the report, is poor infrastructure; making it difficult to walk or bike to school. Girls were also reported to be under societal pressure to stay home and choose activities other than sports. Unsafe streets keep both genders from walking place to place or playing outside, but especially girls who feel more vulnerable.
Obesity, health issues, and lower cognitive functions are serious health issues that will affect society as a whole. Let's do our part and encourage our kids to get outside and stay active.