Too many screens, less physical activity, children and adolescents moved less during confinement

Written by Steven mark

10,000 steps and more. The numbers are disturbing. Physical inactivity (waking time spent sitting or lying down, with very low energy expenditure) in children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 increased significantly during confinement. Screen time has reached thirty hours per week, or more than four hours per day (versus twenty hours per week before confinement), according to a study carried out by Harris Interactive for the Association Assurance Prévention carried out in two stages, at the end of February and from May 28 to June 4. Also a sedentary activity, reading books has increased, but by only one hour, with 3.3 hours per week.

This screen time increases with age. High school students spent 10.7 hours per week on average watching television (compared to 6.5 hours before confinement), 11.4 hours surfing the Internet (compared to 7.3 hours) or 8.4 hours chatting with their friends on social networks (compared to 5.4 hours), the study also indicates. In total, this is a 50% increase in sedentary time. Another survey by the National Observatory for Physical Activity and Sedentary Living (Onaps) shows that screen time has increased for 62% of children and 69% of adolescents.

At the same time, sports activity fell to 2.7 hours per week (compared to 3.5 hours in early March), or twenty-three minutes per day. By adding walking or cycling, this active time decreased to 5.5 hours per week during confinement (compared to 6.1 hours before). Worryingly, 14% of 6-18 year olds did not do any sports at all during this period, a rate that even climbs to 20% among high school students. “Pediatricians have seen children arriving who have not been away from their home for two months or more, who have not moved, from standing to sitting”, deplores Professor Jean-François Toussaint, director of the Institute of Biomedical Research and Epidemiology of Sport (Irmes).

Altered biological rhythms

These figures are cause for concern as they fall far short of the recommendations of the World Health Organization, which advocates one hour of physical activity a day. As a reminder, before confinement in France, 87% of adolescents aged 11 to 17 already did not comply with these recommendations.

And we know that in addition to its deleterious effects on health, the lack of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle often lead to less favorable nutritional habits, which results in weight gain and a loss of cardio-respiratory physical condition, such as show recent studies. As well as an alteration in biological rhythms, with less good sleep. The deleterious effects of screens on sleep are also documented.

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Steven mark

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