Health

Girls less physically active than boys due to societal factors: Study

The research also found that 80% of school-going adolescents do not do the recommended one hour of daily physical activity

 
By Meenakshi Sushma
Last Updated: Thursday 26 December 2019
Girls less physically active than boys due to societal factors: Study
Photo: Wikipedia Photo: Wikipedia

Girls do lesser physical activity than boys globally, a study published recently, has stated.

The study estimated trends between 2001-2016. “Globally, the prevalence of insufficient physical activity decreased slightly in boys between 2001 and 2016 (from 80 per cent to 78 per cent), but there was no change over time in girls (remaining around 85 per cent),” it stated.

The study was produced by researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and was published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health on November 21, 2019.

The region where the lowest levels of insufficient activity by girls were seen, was South Asia, which includes Bangladesh and India. The main reason was “societal factors, such as girls being required to support activity and domestic chores around the home,” the study stated.

In case of boys, there was a slight improvement due to the strong focus on sports, such as cricket, which is frequently played unstructured in local communities, which was observed in Bangladesh and India.

“The trend of girls being less active than boys is concerning,” Leanne Riley, the study’s co-author, told media. 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.

The study also found that globally, around 1.6 million students in the age group of 11–17 years lacked physical activity.

More than 80 per cent of school-going adolescents globally did not do the one hour of physical activity per day recommended by medical experts.

The study was conducted in 298 school-based surveys from 146 countries. 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.

“This is an important issue that needs to be addressed, as the health benefits obtained from physical activity at a growing age can affect the children’s adulthood. For instance muscular fitness, bone growth, improved cardiorespiratory are some of the health benefits which could be achieved through regular physical activity,” the study stated.

On the other hand, physical activity also had a positive impact on cognitive development and pro-social behaviour.

“The 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,” the study’s author Regina Guthold, said.

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