More than 80% of children globally aren’t getting enough exercise. The World Health Organization recommends adolescents are physically active for at least one hour each day but, in most countries around the world, children are falling far short of that goal (with girls, on average, being even less active than boys). As a result of inactivity early in life, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, and certain cancers are all increased.
How can we get kids back into sports? Should there be more public sport facilities and opportunities for young people? Are we too dependent on cars to shuttle us around our cities (and are our cities and towns too crowded with traffic to play outside)? Are video games and other electronic devices competing more and more for attention?
Many of us have sedentary lifestyles ourselves. We sit working at our desks all day and drive home to watch TV on the couch. Smartphones and computers aren’t just a distraction for children. Gyms may be trendy, but they’re not affordable for many people. We don’t always set the best example for younger generations.
This is also an issue of inequality. Lower levels of physical activity are more likely to affect children in financially less well-off households. Local authorities in poorer areas may have less money to spend on sports and recreation facilities, and higher crime rates can discourage outdoor activity. So, is tackling social inequality more broadly part of the solution?
Why are children doing less sport? How can we encourage kids to be more physically active? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!