Less than 3 percent of UK 11-year-olds take enough exercise

Sep 13, 2007

Less than 3 per cent of UK 11 year olds are taking enough exercise, suggests research published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

It is recommended that kids spend at least an hour a day doing some form of moderate to vigorous physical activity, in a bid to promote good health and stave off the risks of subsequent obesity and diabetes.

The researchers monitored the physical activity levels of more than 5,500 11 year olds in the South West of England over seven consecutive days between January 2003 and January 2005.

The children were part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which has tracked the health of more than 14,000 children since birth.

Each child was kitted out with a special piece of equipment (accelerometer), worn on an elasticated belt, which recorded minute by minute the intensity and frequency of physical activity.

The researchers were particularly interested in total levels of physical activity and the amount of moderate to vigorous exercise the kids were taking daily.

When the data were analysed, they showed that the children were around twice as physically active as adults, but they were still not active enough.

Boys were more physically active than girls, and they were also more likely to engage in moderate to vigorous forms of activity.

One in five (22%) girls averaged at least one bout of moderate to vigorous activity a day, lasting at least five minutes. This compares with 40% of the boys.

But both sexes spent most of their day in light intensity activities. Less than 1% of the children averaged at least one 20 minute bout a day.

And only just over 5% of the boys and 0.4% of the girls actually achieved current recommended daily levels of physical activity, equating to 2.5% across both sexes

Only sustained activity is likely to promote cardiorespiratory fitness, say the authors, adding: “It is a sobering thought that children’s activity levels actually peak at around this age [11] and decline precipitously during adolescence.”

Source: BMJ Specialty Journals

Explore further: Pack a travel first-aid kit for the holidays

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microbiome may have shaped early human populations

Dec 16, 2014

We humans have an exceptional age structure compared to other animals: Our children remain dependent on their parents for an unusually long period and our elderly live an extremely long time after they have ...

In Curiosity Hacked, children learn to make, not buy

Dec 14, 2014

With her right hand, my 8-year-old daughter, Kalian, presses the red-hot soldering iron against the circuit board. With her left hand, she guides a thin, tin wire until it's pressing against both the circuit board and the ...

More holiday wish lists go digital

Dec 04, 2014

Holly Riefke's two small children still write letters to Santa Claus. Or rather, they print their names on letters Riefke has written on their behalf, and together they drop them into a festive red Macy's mailbox designated ...

Recommended for you

Pregnant woman taken off life support in Ireland

Dec 26, 2014

A brain-dead pregnant woman was taken off life support Friday after a court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus was doomed to die—a case that exposed fear and confusion among doctors over how to apply Ireland's ...

'Tis the season to overeat

Dec 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Overeating is common during the holidays, but there are strategies that can help you eat in moderation, an expert says.

Don't let burns mar your holidays

Dec 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—The risk of burns from fires and cooking accidents increases during the holidays, so you need to be extra cautious, an expert says.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.