According to a new report from the Sundhedsstyrelsen health authority, far too many Danish kids aged 11-15 are inactive.
The report (here in Danish) revealed that just 26 percent of kids in the age group exercise one hour per day like Sundhedsstyrelsen recommends.
“We know that physical activity has a long line of positive effects on the health and welfare of children and youth, so it’s important they get off their couches and chairs and start moving more than they do today,” said Sundhedsstyrelsen project manager Tue Kristensen.
“Children and young people who are active have better fitness, stronger bones, less fat in their blood and less risk of developing obesity and precursors to diabetes.”
The report also revealed that the same age group spent an average of 11 hours per waking weekday sitting or lying down. That increased to over 12 hours on weekends.
A public health concern
The report is the result of Sundhedsstyrelsen conducting an objective measurement of activity levels in children, and it is based on findings from 1,677 5th, 7th and 9th graders who have had a movement censor attached to their hips for about a week.
Experts have warned that inactivity in children is a public health problem and the central catalyst for it is most likely Denmark’s youth spending far too much time in front of TV and computer screens.
“The number of screens have multiplied over the last 10-20 years, so there are hardly any kids in the country who don’t have a screen of some sort in front of them,” Jens Troelsen, a professor at the University of Southern Denmark and head of the Active Living research unit, told DR Nyheder.
“Whether one watches YouTube or plays a computer game, it’s immensely pacifying and associated with a very small degree of physical activity.”