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Our Most Sedentary Generation

Written by Courteney

Posted on April 6, 2016 at 8:54 pm


Ever notice there are never as many children outside playing kickball and tag than there were ten years ago? Many playgrounds are ghost towns nowadays compared to the bustling microcosms they once were. Unfortunately, more children lead sedentary lives today than any generation before.

Inactive Children Outnumber The Active

According to a government census study, only 1 in three children are physically active on a daily basis. Children are meant to be active, as their bodies grow faster than those of adults. Children also consume more calories per body-size than adults in order to grow at a healthy rate, so they have extra energy that needs expending. Every child should get at least one hour of activity a day, whether that means playing outside, jumping on a trampoline or participating in an extra curricular sport.

Childhood Obesity

The World Health Organization states that as of 2013, 42 million children were considered overweight or obese. Even with government effort concentrated on curtailing childhood obesity over the last several years, the number of obese and overweight children are still too high.

Technology Stifles Activity

On average, children and teens ages 8-18 spend over 7 hours a day using or viewing technology. With so many kids opting for the TV or iPad over playing sports or neighbourhood games, it is no wonder activity levels have been steadily declining while obesity rates have been on the rise over the last 40 years. Between school, meals, homework and hours of dedicated technology use, there is little time left over for playing outdoors or exercising.

Hindered Social Skills

According to a study conducted by UCLA psychologists to measure sixth graders’ recognition of facial expressions, children who didn’t use technology in the preceding 5 days performed exceedingly better at identifying the correct emotions than those who used it every day. Furthermore, recent research suggests tweens and teens who use social media frequently put more effort into establishing surface-level ‘online’ friendships than real ones which appears to impact face-to-face social skills. Recent research done on video games in particular showed that average use of non-violent games didn’t have much impact on social skills, but excessive playing of violent video games was correlated with feelings of isolation, anger, and impaired social interactions.

Inactive Children Become Sedentary Adults

Less than 5% of American adults participate in the recommended 30 minutes of exercise daily, and less than 1 in 3 reach the weekly recommended amount of exercise. Sedentary lifestyles come with significant risks. Not everyone who is sedentary has a weight problem, but inactivity can be a precursor to cardiovascular disease no matter your size. Studies show that routine exercise promotes heart and brain health, mental health and overall wellbeing. If you are obese and inactive your risks for developing health complications are higher than someone who is inactive but of normal weight. Diseases that are directly correlated to obesity include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer among many others. So children who develop the habit of living inactively early on are likely to continue their unhealthy lifestyles, increasing their risk of developing inactivity or obesity related health conditions later in life.

Thus concludes our look at children and inactivity, stay tuned for our article on exercise ideas for the whole family next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!

 

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