Children encouraged to do more than one hour of physical activity daily

According to the World Health Organisation, children aged five and over should do more than one hour of physical activity daily. Meanwhile, a study carried out four years ago among 900 boys and girls show that only one fourth of the children follow WHO’s recommendations. The same study is now being carried out again four years later among the same children, who are now adolescents.

Various children from different schools were in St George’s square to take part in an event organized by the American Embassy in Malta as part of Move Week which aims to promote a more active lifestyle.

Despite what the children themselves said, the study which was carried out by the University four years ago among 10 and 11 year olds, paints a different picture.

The Director of the Physical Education Institute and Sport at the University of Malta, Andrew Decelis, said that the study was carried out by attaching an electronic device to the waist of a number of students for five days which recorded all their physical activity.

“Only 39% of the boys managed to do one physical activity every day while only 10% of the girls were active for the one hour daily they need for their health,” said Dr Decelis.

Four years later, the study is being carried out again among the same students who are now aged between 14 – 15, to establish if there had been a change in their lifestyle. The researchers were not very optimistic, because the indicators of being overweight and obese does not augur well among the Maltese population, especially among the younger generation.

“The more children stay indoors, the more they will find time to use their mobile or tablet. Children are spending too much time in front of a screen. Take them outdoors,” Dr Decilis urged parents.

During the launch of this study, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, Chris Agius complained about the lack of time dedicated to PE in schools and the lack of a sports culture.