Parents on New Year day might have resolved to get more exercise for their kids. However, a study says that only nine per cent of teens ( children) met the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily during Covid 19 pandemic, which was decline from 16 per cent pre-pandemic.
In the study, the researchers found that lower physical activity was linked to poorer mental health, greater stress and more worry about Covid 19 pandemic. Lead author Jason Nagata, assistant professor of paediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, noted that the pandemic led to the cancellation of in-person physical education classes and organized gym, sports and recreational facility closures. It also led to a rise in screen use, which contributed to lower physical activity for teens, the researcher added.
Noting that physical activity helped in augmenting physical and mental health in teens, Nagata said teens who were more active during Covid 19 pandemic were found stronger in emotional wellbeing and more socially connected to others.
The study noted that teens reported two hours of physical activity per week during the pandemic, which was much lower. Co-author Kyle T Ganson assistant professor, University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, said that they also came across racial and socioeconomic disparities in physical activity that reflected unequal access to safe, outdoor recreational spaces. The researchers opined that parents should encourage their children to move more and sit less. “Despite disruptions from the pandemic, consider doing activities as a family, going outdoors, or participating in virtual exercise classes,” Nagatta said.