Monday January 27, 2020

Why Are Indian Teens Less Physically Active?

WHO conducts a survey to find out why Indian Adolescents are less physically active

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Indian Teenagers
Playing cricket keeps Indian boys away from other exercises. Pixabay

Too much focus on cricket might be the reason why Indian boys are not getting sufficient physical activity, while domestic chores are keeping girls away from adequate exercise, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The study, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, found that kids aged 11 to 17 years are at the lower levels of insufficient physical activity in Bangladesh and India (where 63 per cent and 72 per cent of boys were insufficiently active in 2016, respectively).

For girls, the lowest levels of insufficient activity were seen in Bangladesh and India, and are potentially explained by societal factors, such as increased domestic chores in the home for girls.

According to the WHO, levels of insufficient physical activity in adolescents continue to be extremely high, compromising their current and future health.

“Urgent policy action to increase physical activity is needed now, particularly to promote and retain girls’ participation in physical activity,” said study author Dr Regina Guthold, WHO.

The study also found that more than 80 per cent of adolescents worldwide are not physically active, including 85 per cent girls and 78 per cent boys, putting their health at risk by not doing regular exercise and spending too much time on screen.

For the findings, the researchers estimated how many 11 to 17-year-olds do not meet this recommendation by analysing data collected through school-based surveys on physical activity levels.

Indian girl
The household keeps the Indian girls away from enough physical activity. Pixabay

The assessment included all types of physical activity, such as time spent in active play, recreation and sports, active domestic chores, walking and cycling or other types of active transportation, physical education and planned exercise.

Based on data reported by 1.6 million 11 to 17-year-old students – the research found that across all 146 countries studied between 2001-2016, girls were less active than boys in all but four (Tonga, Samoa, Afghanistan and Zambia).

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According to the study, physical activity trends show slight improvement for boys, none for girls. Most countries in the study (73 per cent, 107 of 146) saw this gender gap widen between 2001-2016.

“The trend of girls being less active than boys is concerning,” said study co-author Dr Leanne Riley, WHO.

“More opportunities to meet the needs and interests of girls are needed to attract and sustain their participation in physical activity through adolescence and into adulthood,” Riley added. (IANS)

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Lower Physical Activity in Adulthood Leads to Obesity: Study

Adulthood linked to lower amount of physical activity

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Physical activity obesity
Leaving school and getting a job both lead to a drop in the amount of physical activity. Pixabay

Leaving school and getting a job both lead to a drop in the amount of physical activity and may lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, while becoming a mother is linked to increased weight gain, researchers have found.

Many people tend to put on weight as they leave adolescence and move into adulthood and this is the age when the levels of obesity increase the fastest, the study said.

This weight gain is related to changes in diet and physical activity behaviour across the life events of early adulthood, including the move from school to further education and employment, starting new relationships and having children.

Physical activity
Many people tend to put on weight as they leave adolescence and move into adulthood due to less physical activity. Pixabay

“This evidence suggests that the pressures of university, employment and childcare drive changes in behaviour which are likely to be bad for long-term health,” said study researcher Eleanor Winpenny from University of Cambridge in the US.

For the study, published in the journal Obesity Reviews, researchers looked at changes in physical activity, diet and body weight as young adults move from education into employment and to becoming a parent.

To do this, they carried out systematic reviews and meta-analyses of existing scientific literature.

In the first of the two studies, the research team looked at the evidence relating to the transition from high school into higher education or employment and how this affects body weight, diet and physical activity.

In total, they found 19 studies covering ages 15-35 years, of which 17 assessed changes in physical activity, three body weight, and five diet or eating behaviours.

The team found that leaving high school was associated with a decrease of seven minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

The decrease was larger for males than it was for females (a decrease of 16.4 minutes per day for men compared to 6.7 minutes per day for women).

Physical activity
According to the researchers, most studies including physical activity showed a greater decline in parents versus non-parents. Pixabay

More detailed analysis revealed that the change is largest when people go to university, with overall levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity falling by 11.4 minutes per day.

In the second study, the team looked at the impact of becoming a parent on weight, diet and physical activity.

A meta-analysis of six studies found the difference in change in body mass index (BMI) between remaining without children and becoming a parent was 17 per cent: a woman of average height (164 cm) who had no children gained around 7.5 kg over five to six years, while a mother of the same height would gain an additional 1.3 kg.

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These equate to increases in BMI of 2.8 versus 3.3. According to the researchers, most studies including physical activity showed a greater decline in parents versus non-parents.

The research team found limited evidence for diet, which did not seem to differ between parents and non-parents. (IANS)