Pandemic paralysis: only 1 in 10 teens get enough exercise during COVID

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif .– Only nine percent of American teens get enough physical activity during the pandemic, a new study finds. Researchers from the United States and Canada say that number has dropped significantly from the already paltry 16% getting enough exercise before COVID-19.

Health experts have recommended that children get about 60 minutes of physical activity per day, especially in the midst of the pandemic, which has increased the number of sedentary habits in which children and adults participate.

“The pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of in-person physical education classes and organized closures of sports, gyms and recreation facilities, and an increase in the use of screens, all of which have helped reduce the adolescent physical activity, “said lead author Jason Nagata, assistant professor. of pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco, in a press release.

Inactivity also leads to poor mental health

Researchers have found a link between less physical activity in adolescents and poorer mental health, higher stress levels and increased concern about issues related to the pandemic.

“Physical activity can promote the physical and mental health of young people,” Nagata continues. “We found that adolescents who were more active during the pandemic reported stronger emotional well-being and felt more socially connected to others.”

Study of nearly 12,000 teens found that teens averaged about two hours of physical activity per week during COVID. The results show that this average was lower among black, Latino and Native American teens, who get an average of 90 minutes of exercise per week.

“We have noted significant racial and socioeconomic disparities in physical activity that may reflect unequal access to safe outdoor recreation spaces,” says co-author Kyle T. Ganson, assistant professor in the Faculty of Social Work Factor -Inwentash from the University of Toronto.

“Parents should encourage their children to move more and sit less,” Nagata concludes. “Despite the disruption due to the pandemic, consider doing family activities, going outside, or participating in virtual exercise classes.”

The study is published in the journal Preventive medicine reports.

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