children spend to much time on screens

Children aren't getting enough physical activity

Children aren't getting enough physical activity

Children are spending too much time looking at screens

The researchers report that children's physical activity starts declining at age 7 in both boys and girls and It has been getting worse over the past decades. Children are spending more time playing video games than kicking a ball or jump rop. A sedentary behaviour that start way before the teenage years mentioned the British Journal of Sports Medicine .

The scientists followed 400 children in the East of England for 8 years. They started measured children's physical activity who were 7, 9, 12 and 15 years old by using a small monitor that needed to be wore for 7 days straight. 


The physical activity of 6 out of 10 children decreases from age 7, however it seems to be lower for the girls. Only 1 out of 5 children keep an extreme physical activity during their childhood and teenage years, says the scientist.

«This generation is part of a screens era : Tv, telephone and video game. Children socialize through social media. », explains Claire Mounier-Vehier, president of the cardiology federation, who sees the danger and wants to fight children's inactivity.

Disturbing data 

In forty years, the children from 9 to 16 lost 25% of their physical ability. They slower and have less stamina. In 1971, children ran 800 meters in 3 minutes but now they need 4. This period is crucial «At the end of the teenager years, we reach our maximum cardiorespiratory capacity. After 35 years old, it will start to decline but we can only slow down the process if we exercise», explains François Carré, professor in the area of cardiovascular physiology at the university of Rennes.  We need to take action to boost our immune system. This means practice a daily activity that requires physical effort such cycling, play football or even walk to school. We just have to exercise for 60 minutes every day. 

The primary function of school

Today, 4 children out of 10 walk to school and only 2% are going with their bicycle or scooter. 45% of the students live less than 2 km from school and 21% between 2 and 5 km. «It is not their fault if they aren't active», says François Carré. For the scientist, if the parents use a stroller when a child can walk, drive them to school while it is close by and they don't exercise neither, it is difficult for the child to have good habits. «The school should play an important role and remind the children every year, how to take care of their health : I eat healthy, I exercise, I don't smoke…», ended François Carré. 

Source : The Figaro Santé, by Anne Prigent