Half of all UK seven-year-olds do not do enough exercise, with girls far less active than boys, a study suggests.
University College London researchers found just 51% of the 6,500 children they monitored achieved the recommended hour of physical activity each day. For girls, the figure was just 38%, compared with 63% for boys. Half of the group also spent more than six hours being sedentary each day, although some of this would be spent in class, the researchers acknowledged.
The study, published in the online journal BMJ Open, found levels of activity varied among groups. For example, children of Indian origin and those living in Northern Ireland were among the least physically active with 43% achieving the recommended levels, compared to 53% in Scotland. But the most marked difference was between girls and boys. Researchers said this suggested there needed to be a focus on making sport and other activities more attractive to girls.
Prof Carol Dezateux, one of the lead authors, said: “There is a big yawning gap between girls and boys. We need to really think about how we are reaching out to girls.”
To achieve the one hour recommendation children have to take part in moderate or vigorous activity, which includes everything from brisk walking and cycling to playing football and running.
This article was taken in part from an article written by Nick Triggle Health correspondent for BBC News www.bbc.co.uk
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