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9/23/2019

Physical Inactivity Proved Risky for Children

Cardio-respiratory capacity in children has dropped by 25% in 20 years, according to a study by the University of Adelaide in Australia. There are multiple reasons for this, But at what age do children lose the desire to exercise? Researchers followed 1,200 Geneva pupils, aged 8 to 12, for two years and found that from the age of 9, the positive reasons for exercising — it's fun and good for your health -- begin to be replaced by more displaced incentives: to get a good mark or improve your image with others. 
Society today is characterized by an increasingly sedentary way of life and a decline in physical activity, which is reflected in the growing number of overweight children (16% of children aged 6 to 12 in Switzerland). In an earlier study researchers noted that the recommendations issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the amount of exercise undertaken by school-age children were not being met, namely: children should be active for at least 50% of the time devoted to physical education lessons in primary school. In reality, they move on average only 38% of the time. And as children grow older, the percentage drops. 
Results showed for the first time that there is a sharp drop in positive motivations for physical activity (with good motivational qualities), such as pleasure or health, over a child’s time at primary school from age 9 onwards.  We’ve never observed this decline at such a young age. And motivations considered counterproductive (with poor motivational qualities) — such as undertaking the activity to get a good grade or to send a positive image to one’s classmates -- increase as a child gets older. We know that if children are motivated by good reasons when they’re young, then they’ll remain active when they’re adults.
Researchers are now working to develop autonomy and cooperation among pupils, and to work on the curriculum, course structure and teacher involvement to help them keep or boost their positive motivations for physical education. Now that children don’t move as much as before outside school, it's vital that the periods earmarked for PE maximize the time they spend moving. This is especially the case since we fall below the standards prescribed by the WHO. Their recommendation is 150 minutes of physical education per week. Teaching physical education has an important role to play in this new global health problem, which affects children at a younger age.

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