Toddlers are infamous for their insanely high levels of energy. From the minute they wake up to the minute they fall asleep, they don't stop moving. Who knows from where this never-ending stream of energy derives, but if you could bottle it up, you would make a fortune.
New evidence suggests that at some point, this magical fountain of energy starts to run dry. A study, recently conducted at The Bristol University, found that there is a significant drop in physical activity between the ages of 6 and 11. Approximately 17-minutes each year is rendered inactive. This means that during this 5-year range, one can expect their child's activity level to drop by about an hour and a half in total.
Researchers conducted experiments between the years of 2012 and 2018. During the study, the physical activity of 2,132 children, from 57 schools across the South West of England, was observed. To validate the observations' accuracy, participants wore an accelerometer for five days. Researchers noted the minutes per day the children performed moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). MVPA is described as the level of activity that would leave one slightly out of breath and sweaty. The research showed that 61%, of 6-year-old children, engaged in an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. However, by the time they were 11-years-old, only 41% of the kids hit this target. The decline in physical activity was more prominent in girls than in boys, and it fell about 26% during this 5-year time period.
As children get older their entertainment changes as well. What they were once interested in may now considered for "babies" or "little kids." Children who once enjoyed playing in the sandbox may now prefer to sit on the couch and play video games. Nowadays, a sedentary lifestyle has become a routine for many children, unfortunately. Watching TV or playing Roblox on the phone, may be easier on the parents, but causes more damage on the children when extended for a long period of time. The lead researcher of the study, Professor Russell Jago said, "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."
Obesity and other health concerns in children are more prevalent now than ever. Educating children about the importance of an active lifestyle while they're young is a vital for their health. Also having children do other activities that involve their minds to be active is crucial. Such activities include: drawing, building, puzzles, even playing outdoor with friends is still something kids, in this age group, enjoy. If this study has pinpointed the time period when people are most likely to develop sedentary lifestyles, it may be groundbreaking in the fight against unhealthy lifestyles and obesity in general.