Teens who shun physical activity more likely to be ill

September 9th, 2008 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 9 (IANS) Teens who shun physical activity are more likely to fall ill because of sedentary lifestyles, according to Queensland University of Technology researcher Kyra Hamilton.Hamilton, who also has 15 years nursing experience, said the results were split fairly evenly down the middle: just under half (42 per cent) of the 423 teens surveyed were regularly active, and just over half (58 per cent) were not regularly active.

“We need to get children and teenagers more active, and obesity rates are rising all the time, so I was interested in looking at the attitudes and beliefs of teens towards physical exercise, and how that influenced their activity levels,” she said. “Research shows that physical activity levels really drop off around age 14.”

Hamilton described regularly active as performing moderate to vigorous physical activity for 60 minutes, five days a week.

“Those kids who reported a high level of activity during the seven days we focussed on had more confidence in their ability to perform the behaviours well, thinking of them as easy to perform, and they did not worry about obstacles such as bad weather, lack of time or low motivation,” she said.

“Those who perceived pressure from teachers, friends, or family members, and were surrounded by friends who were active were also more likely to be regularly active themselves and it also helped if those teens thought of themselves generally as a physically active person.

“Teens who thought physical activity was fun and a chance to spend time with their friends were likely to be physically active while teens who rated physical activity as hard work were less likely to be regularly active.”

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