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Children in primary school get less active with age
May 10, 2017, 11:48 am

A new study shows that there is an age-related decline in children's physical activity levels as they progress through primary school. Researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom found that children spent less time doing physical activity and spent more time sedentary from Year 1 (aged 5-6) to Year 4 (aged 8-9).

Additionally, by the time they got to Year 4, around a third of boys and two thirds of girls aged eight to nine years old in the study were failing to meet recommended physical activity guidelines of an hour of physical activity per day.

Previous research has shown that low levels of physical activity in childhood can track into adulthood, suggesting that we should be doing more to ensure children keep active throughout their younger lives.

In the study, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, the researchers tracked the physical activity levels of 1,300 children in Year 1, aged 5-6, over a week.

The study tracked the physical activity levels of 1,300 children in Year 1 using an accelerometer, a smart device which gives an accurate measurement of movement. They then tracked the same children three years later, when they were in Year 4, and compared the results.

The levels of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity dropped by four percent in boys, and eleven percent in girls, but even more worryingly the sedentary time increased by 20 percent in boys and 23 percent in girls.

Further examination of the data showed that 62.3 percent of boys and 35 percent of girls met the recommendation of an hour per day in Year 4, compared with 72.5 percent and 53.7 percent respectively in Year 1.

Professor Russ Jago who led the study, said: "The results show a clear need to find ways to help children to be active throughout the primary school years. We need to get children active and then keep them active as they move through primary school. "To help us to do this we need to find the activities that children enjoy and foster as many opportunities within and outside of school to take part in activity across the day."


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