Adolescents need to be more physically active, says WHO

More than 80 percent of school-going adolescents worldwide don’t meet the recommended at least one hour of physical activity per day touchstone, says a recent study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The study, based on data reported by 1.6 million 11-17-year-old students, found that girls are less active than boys in 146 countries covered but four (Tonga, Samoa, Afghanistan and Zambia).

In particular, the study, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health (November), reports that the lowest levels of physical activity in adolescents are in Bangladesh and India. The authors note that for boys, this may be explained by strong preference for watching sports such as cricket and for girl children by societal factors, such as numerous domestic chores.

“The study highlights that young people have the right to play and should be provided with the opportunities to realise their right to physical and mental well-being. Strong political will and action can address the fact that four in every five adolescents do not experience the enjoyment and social, physical, and mental health benefits of regular physical activity,” says co-author Fiona Bull, program manager, WHO.

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