A pat on the back for New Zealand parents, ranking well in a worldwide study of children's activity levels.
The study released yesterday of 15,000 children from 5 to 17 years, found that the most active youngsters overall were in Mozambique and New Zealand followed by Kenya, England, with Australia, US and Scotland coming out the least active. The researchers set the recommended level of activity at 60 minutes a day and suggested less than two hours a day of screen time.
An interesting part of the study is that when researchers looked at levels of participation in organised sports Australian kids scored very highly, but overall 80% of Australian kids were active for less than an hour a day. They commented that the results showed parents were falling into the ''trap'' that organised sport is enough to keep children healthy.
So, ideas for fitting in 60 minutes a day of activity:
- Walk or ride to school
- Make the choice to do more exercise on the weekend and be active as a family
- Encourage them to play outside at home and ride around on their bikes
- Buy gifts that get kids moving - balls, bats, ropes etc
- Park some distance away from your destination
- Encourage kids to try different sports to find what they love
Physical activity has been shown to reduce levels of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease; build strong bones and muscles; improve balance, flexibility and posture as well as reducing stress and boosting self esteem and confidence.
So let's go!