A new study led by the University of Strathclyde has found that children’s physical activity starts to decline from as young as four years old…

A review of more than 50 published studies, covering a total of 22 000 children, found that children of all ages around the world are at risk from a decline in physical activity.

Physical activity fell steadily from the age of four or five, in both boys and girls and in every part of the world covered by the study.

Daily activity fell by three to four minutes each year overall, although it remained higher at weekends and on holidays.

Previous Strathclyde-led research found that physical activity levels might start tailing off as early as the age of seven, rather than during adolescence as is widely believed. It studied children in the north-east of England but the new research, published in Obesity Reviews, suggests that the drop in physical activity is a global issue.

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The study also involved researchers from University College London, the University of Glasgow and the Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital in Doha, Qatar.

It comes as a World Health Organisation survey finds that more than 80% of girls and boys aged between 11 and 17 globally did not meet current recommendations of at least one hour of physical activity per day.

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“Higher levels of what is defined as moderate to vigorous physical activity in children improve their bone health, brain development and learning, levels of body fatness, cardiovascular and metabolic health and sleep,” says Professor John Reilly, of Strathclyde’s School of Psychological Sciences & Health.

However, despite these many important benefits, only a minority of children and adolescents meet recommended levels of physical activity.

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Source: University of Strathclyde via www.sciencedaily.com

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