SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Only nine percent of American teens get enough physical activity during a pandemic, new research reveals. U.S. and Canadian researchers say the number has dropped significantly, compared to just under 16 percent who exercised enough before COVID-19.
Health experts have recommended about 60 minutes of physical activity a day for children, especially in the midst of a pandemic, which has increased the amount of movement for both children and adults.
“The pandemic led to the cancellation of personal exercise classes and the shutdown of organized sports, gym and recreation facilities, as well as increased screen usage, all of which contributed to a decrease in physical activity among teenagers,” says lead author Jason Nagata, assistant professor. In the University of California San Francisco Pediatrics Bulletin.
Immobility also impairs mental health
Researchers found a link between declining physical activity in teens and increased concern about poorer mental health, higher levels of stress, and pandemic-related problems.
“Physical activity can support young people’s physical and mental health,” Nagata continues. “We found that during the pandemic, more active teens reported stronger emotional well-being and felt more socially connected to others.”
A study of nearly 12,000 young people found that teenagers exercise for an average of about two hours. per week During COVID. The results show that this average was lower in black, Hispanic, and Native American teens who exercise for an average of about 90 minutes per week.
“We observed significant racial and socioeconomic differences in physical activity, which may reflect unequal access to safe outdoor spaces,” says another author, Kyle T. Ganson, an assistant professor at the Factor-Inwentash School of Social Work at the University of Toronto.
“Parents should encourage their children to move more and sit less,” Nagata concludes. “Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, consider activities with the family, outdoor activities, or attending virtual practice classes.”
The study has been published in a journal Preventive Medicine Reports.