According to the American Heart Association (AHA), kids and teenagers nowadays are not getting enough exercise and their physical activity has become low.
Over the years, smartphone use has increased tremendously in teens. Most of the high school students use just their thumbs and fingers to type and scroll whereas the rest of the body suffers because of physical inactivity.
Children confined at home will struggle to achieve the WHO 24h movement behaviour guidelines recommended 60 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for 5–17 year olds.
This jeopardises their mental wellbeing and healthy weight status
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The results show that only one out of four kids maintains good physical activity of at least one hour a day. Screen time of patients has increased and the games and sports that were once part of the school activities have come to a halt.
Guidelines on physical activity for young children aged 6 to 17 years include at least one hour of moderately vigorous activity. These also recommend that adults perform a moderate-intensity physical activity of at least 150 minutes per week or a vigorous-intensity exercise of at least 75 minutes per week. Physical activities, such as stroll, jogging and aerobic exercises keep diseases away.
Dr. Geetha Raghuveer, a pediatric cardiologist at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri, says:
Physically active children tend to be less obese and are less likely to develop hypertension, diabetes and cardiac disease, and they have better mental well-being as well. Physical activity is an important part of a child’s life. There are a lot of social media outlets – it’s not just TV and video games anymore. There is too much tablet (and) computer time, and phone time using Facebook and Twitter. There’s a great deal of sitting time involved and many detrimental effects associated with this.
Not too long ago, children used bicycles that immensely improved their physical activity but nowadays video games and phones have taken over. A 2015 study found that sitting for three hours straight results in the production of harmful chemicals in young girls.
Another study published in The Lancet Psychiatry found that 60 minutes of physical activity in 12-year-old children leads to a decrease in depression by 10%. Excessive use of social media not only leads to cyberbullying but also sleep deprivation, according to a study published in 2019 in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.
Schools have also played a major role in the sedentary lifestyle of kids by decreasing outdoor activities and diminishing daily exercise routine.
Bethany Gibbs, associate professor of health and physical activity at the University of Pittsburgh, explains that schools can play an important role in bringing exercise back in the lives of kids by introducing small activity breaks. At home parents can encourage their kids to do work in yards which would limit their screen time.
She believes that little modifications in lifestyle, such as using using stairs instead of elevators, can bring massive results. It will increase the stamina of kids. Moving around after some time can decrease sitting time and increase blood flow to the body, especially legs. In addition to exercise, kids should keep moving all day to stay active, smart and disease-free.