WHO / PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

21-Nov-2019 00:04:14
The first ever global trends for adolescent insufficient physical activity show that urgent action is needed to increase physical activity levels in girls and boys aged 11 to 17 years. WHO
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STORY: WHO / PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
TRT: 04:14
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: EMBARGO: DO NOT PUBLISH, DISTRIBUTE OR REPRODUCE BEFORE 2330 GMT ON 21 NOVEMBER 2019 / 00:30 GENEVA TIME ON 22 NOVEMBER 2019
LANGUAGE: NATS

DATELINE: 21 NOVEMBER 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / 2014, BAHAMAS / 2018, PERU / 2018, FRANCE
SHOTLIST
21 NOVEMBER 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Med shot, Dr. Regina Guthold talking to interviewer
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Regina Guthold, Lead Author; Scientist, WHO Adolescent and Child Health:
“Globally, 81 percent of adolescents aged 11 to 17 do not meet the WHO recommendations on physical activity. And that is to do one hour of activity each day or more. And that could be any type of physical activity. Could be walking or riding a bike to school, could be active play, could be physical education class, could be anything. So, our finding shows really that four out of five adolescents do not meet these guidelines and therefore do not get a health benefit from physical activity.”

FILE - 2014, BAHAMAS

3. Various shot, young people exercising

21 NOVEMBER 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Regina Guthold, Lead Author; Scientist, WHO Adolescent and Child Health:
“Despite WHO member States signing up for a target to reduce insufficient activity by 15 percent by 2030, we have not seen major improvements globally in reduction of insufficient physical activity. In fact, in boys, we see a tiny improvement. The prevalence went from about 80 percent in 2001, to about 78 percent in 2016. So, it's still very high and the improvement is small, but we do not see any improvement in girls where the prevalence of insufficient activity stayed at around 85 percent, not meeting the WHO recommendations for physical activity.”

FILE - 2014, BAHAMAS

5. Various shot, young people exercising

21 NOVEMBER 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Regina Guthold, Lead Author; Scientist, WHO Adolescent and Child Health:
“Whatever is done in countries to increase physical activity levels really only reaches boys. Because we do see some small improvements in physical activity levels in boys, but no improvements in girls. So, we really think that girls should be more involved in developing solutions. They should be consulted, to help define what types of activities should be offered in communities at schools that talk to them that they find attractive to increase their physical activity participation.”
7. Med shot, Leanne Riley
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Leanne Riley, Co-author of Study; Coordinator, Surveillance, WHO Noncommunicable Diseases Department:
“One of the driving factors is an increase in digital technology that's accessible to young people, so more screen time using their devices more rather than active play. Security also seems to be a bit of an issue. That young people maybe don't feel safe enough to be outside, running or walking in parks, places where we'd like them to be more active. That urban design hasn't really encouraged walking and cycling. And that road traffic, congestion, is also forcing young people off the street. And then finally in this age group, one of the concerns we have is the amount of time young people are required to devote to academic study, homework, sitting at school. And so less time for active play and activities with their friends.”

FILE – 2018, FRANCE

9. Various shots, young people playing video games

21 NOVEMBER 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

10. SOUNDBITE (English) Leanne Riley, Co-author of Study; Coordinator, Surveillance, WHO Noncommunicable Diseases Department:
“So, WHO has been really working to promote activity in this area and produced a very nice guide, on the strategies and policies to be active. For this age group, I think the solutions are about promoting activities that appeal to young people, engaging them in determining what kind of activities they'd like to be doing, improving urban design to encourage, the urban spaces that are needed for young people to be active, improving the security and safety so that young people can be outside. And then in schools, of course, for this age group, a lot could be done to promote physical activity in schools, physical education, or just opportunities throughout the school day for young people to try and get these 60 minutes of activity that's needed.”

FILE – 2018, FRANCE

11. Various shots, children playing football
STORYLINE
The first ever global trends for adolescent insufficient physical activity show that urgent action is needed to increase physical activity levels in girls and boys aged 11 to 17 years.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Regina Guthold, Lead Author; Scientist, WHO Adolescent and Child Health:
“Globally, 81 percent of adolescents aged 11 to 17 do not meet the WHO recommendations on physical activity. And that is to do one hour of activity each day or more. And that could be any type of physical activity. Could be walking or riding a bike to school, could be active play, could be physical education class, could be anything. So, our finding shows really that four out of five adolescents do not meet these guidelines and therefore do not get a health benefit from physical activity.”

The study, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal and produced by researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO), finds that more than 80 percent of school-going adolescents globally did not meet current recommendations of at least one hour of physical activity per day – including 85 percent of girls and 78 percent of boys.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Regina Guthold, Lead Author; Scientist, WHO Adolescent and Child Health:
“Despite WHO member States signing up for a target to reduce insufficient activity by 15 percent by 2030, we have not seen major improvements globally in reduction of insufficient physical activity. In fact, in boys, we see a tiny improvement. The prevalence went from about 80 percent in 2001, to about 78 percent in 2016. So, it's still very high and the improvement is small, but we do not see any improvement in girls where the prevalence of insufficient activity stayed at around 85 percent, not meeting the WHO recommendations for physical activity.”

The study – which is based on data reported by 1.6 million 11 to 17-year-old students – finds that across all 146 countries studied between 2001-2016 girls were less active than boys in all but four (Tonga, Samoa, Afghanistan and Zambia).

The difference in the proportion of boys and girls meeting the recommendations was greater than 10 percentage points in almost one in three countries in 2016 (29 percent, 43 of 146 countries), with the biggest gaps seen in the United States of America and Ireland (more than 15 percentage points). Most countries in the study (73 percent, 107 of 146) saw this gender gap widen between 2001-2016.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Regina Guthold, Lead Author; Scientist, WHO Adolescent and Child Health:
“Whatever is done in countries to increase physical activity levels really only reaches boys. Because we do see some small improvements in physical activity levels in boys, but no improvements in girls. So, we really think that girls should be more involved in developing solutions. They should be consulted, to help define what types of activities should be offered in communities at schools that talk to them that they find attractive to increase their physical activity participation.”

The authors say that levels of insufficient physical activity in adolescents continue to be extremely high, compromising their current and future health. The health benefits of a physically active lifestyle during adolescence include improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone and cardiometabolic health, and positive effects on weight. There is also growing evidence that physical activity has a positive impact on cognitive development and socializing. Current evidence suggests that many of these benefits continue into adulthood.

SOUNDBITE (English) Leanne Riley, Co-author of Study; Coordinator, Surveillance, WHO Noncommunicable Diseases Department:
“One of the driving factors is an increase in digital technology that's accessible to young people, so more screen time using their devices more rather than active play. Security also seems to be a bit of an issue. That young people maybe don't feel safe enough to be outside, running or walking in parks, places where we'd like them to be more active. That urban design hasn't really encouraged walking and cycling. And that road traffic, congestion, is also forcing young people off the street. And then finally in this age group, one of the concerns we have is the amount of time young people are required to devote to academic study, homework, sitting at school. And so less time for active play and activities with their friends.”

To achieve these benefits, the WHO recommends for adolescents to do moderate or vigorous physical activity for an hour or more each day.

SOUNDBITE (English) Leanne Riley, Co-author of Study; Coordinator, Surveillance, WHO Noncommunicable Diseases Department:
“So, WHO has been really working to promote activity in this area and produced a very nice guide, on the strategies and policies to be active. For this age group, I think the solutions are about promoting activities that appeal to young people, engaging them in determining what kind of activities they'd like to be doing, improving urban design to encourage, the urban spaces that are needed for young people to be active, improving the security and safety so that young people can be outside. And then in schools, of course, for this age group, a lot could be done to promote physical activity in schools, physical education, or just opportunities throughout the school day for young people to try and get these 60 minutes of activity that's needed.”

The authors estimated how many 11- to 17-year-olds do not meet this recommendation by analysing data collected through school-based surveys on physical activity levels. The assessment included all types of physical activity, such as time spent in active play, recreation and sports, active domestic chores, walking and cycling or other types of active transportation, physical education and planned exercise.
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