Kids perhaps its time to put the smart phone down and go for a jog, as according to a recent study, physical activity amongst teens and young adults may be at an all-time low. The alarming findings labelled the 19 year olds to be as sedantry as the 60 year olds.
The reduced physical activity levels has already been touted as one of the major contributors in the growing obesity epidemic, particularly among children and teens. At this point, the study conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US is definitely a wake-up call.
The researchers of the study published in the journal Preventive Medicin, found that young adults after the age of 20 show the only increase in activity over the lifespan, and starting at age 35, activity levels declined through midlife and older adulthood.
The study also identified different times throughout the day when activity was highest and lowest, across age groups and between males and females.
Assistant Professor Vadim Zipunnikov and senior author of the study said, “Activity levels at the end of adolescence were alarmingly low, and by age 19, they were comparable to 60- year-olds.”
According to the researchers, these patterns could be a strong message to the programmes and campaingns aimed towards increasing physical activity to relook their target, and focus not only age groups but also the time span with the least activity, such as during the morning for children and adolescents.
Zipunnikov further said, “For school-age children, the primary window for activity was the afternoon between 2 and 6 pm. So the big question is how do we modify daily schedules, in schools for example, to be more conducive to increasing physical activity?”
The researchers used data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from the 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 survey cycles.
For the study 12,529 participants wore tracking devices for seven straight days, removing them for only bathing and at bedtime. The devices measured how much time participants were sedentary or engaged in light or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
According to the findings , the only age group that saw an increase in activity levels, were the 20 somethings, which was spread out throughout the day, with an increase in physical activity in the early morning, compared to younger adolescents, the increase may be related to starting full-time work and other life transitions.
It was also found that for all age groups, males were generally found to have higher activity levels than females, particularly high-intensity activity, but after midlife, these levels took a sharp drop as compared to females.Among adults 60 years and older, males were more sedentary and had lower activity levels than females.
The study found that more than 25 per cent of boys and 50 per cent of girls aged six to 11 and over 50 per cent of male and 75 per cent of female adolescents aged 12 to 19 had not met the WHO recommendation and guidelines of minimum physical activity levels. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a day for children aged five to 17 years.