Study: German children increasingly suffering from lack of exercise


By AGENCY

The proportion of children who are sufficiently active dropped particularly among the underprivileged, according to the study. Photo: Rachel/Unsplash

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the lack of exercise among German children has increased significantly, a new study has found.

The proportion of children who are sufficiently active dropped particularly among the underprivileged, from 27 to 22%, according to DAK, one of the country's largest statutory health insurers which had commissioned the study.

Some 68% of all children questioned suffer from a lack of exercise, the study found.

National health guidelines recommend that children and adolescents engage in moderate to intense physical activity for at least 90 minutes per day, according to DAK. Those can include 60 minutes of everyday activities like walking to school or climbing stairs, meaning children should exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.

Less than 90 minutes of physical activity is considered a lack of exercise.

Some 38% of the almost 18,000 children questioned said they had exercised less during the past two school years.

Among those with underprivileged backgrounds, that figure even rose to 44%, and 46% among girls, DAK said.

School children in Germany spent more than 12 hours on average sitting down every day, according to the study.

DAK chief executive Andreas Storm called the findings alarming, saying that a lack of exercise is "partly responsible for a number of different diseases."

A lack of physical activity posed a massive health risk that is often underestimated, but can also be changed, he added. "We must make it our task to promote the joy of movement again and to prevent prolonged sitting."

For the study, some 18,000 school children from grade 5 to 10 were questioned in 13 of Germany's 16 states during the school year of 2021/22. - dpa

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