The Contribution of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviours to the Growth and Development of Children and Adolescents

School of Human Movement Studies, Institute of Health & Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Sports Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.04). 02/2007; 37(6):533-45. DOI: 10.2165/00007256-200737060-00006
Source: PubMed


The obesity epidemic is a global trend and is of particular concern in children. Recent reports have highlighted the severity of obesity in children by suggesting: “today’s generation of children will be the first for over a century for whom life expectancy falls.” This review assesses the evidence that identifies the important role of physical activity in the growth, development and physical health of young people, owing to its numerous physical and psychological health benefits. Key issues, such as “does a sedentary lifestyle automatically lead to obesity” and “are levels of physical activity in today’s children less than physical activity levels in children from previous generations?”, are also discussed.
Today’s environment enforces an inactive lifestyle that is likely to contribute to a positive energy balance and childhood obesity. Whether a child or adolescent, the evidence is conclusive that physical activity is conducive to a healthy lifestyle and prevention of disease. Habitual physical activity established during the early years may provide the greatest likelihood of impact on mortality and longevity. It is evident that environmental factors need to change if physical activity strategies are to have a significant impact on increasing habitual physical activity levels in children and adolescents. There is also a need for more evidence-based physical activity guidelines for children of all ages. Efforts should be concentrated on facilitating an active lifestyle for children in an attempt to put a stop to the increasing prevalence of obese children.

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Available from: Andrew P Hills
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    • "Early childhood obesity is associated with health consequences that may persist into adolescence and adulthood [2, 3]. Physical activity (PA) is one of the factors that influence the healthy development of children and their weight, but the majority of preschoolers tend to be inactive [4, 5]. Inactivity has been suggested as being one of the key factors contributing to the obesity epidemic in children [6, 7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Physical activity (PA) in preschoolers is vital to protect against obesity but is influenced by different early-life factors. The present study investigated the impact of different preschool programs and selected family factors on preschoolers' PA in different countries in an explorative way. Methods: The PA of 114 children (age = 5.3 ± 0.65 years) attending different preschool settings in four cities of the trinational Upper Rhine region (Freiburg, Landau/Germany, Basel/Switzerland, and Strasbourg/France) was measured by direct accelerometry. Anthropometrical and family-related data were obtained. Timetables of preschools were analyzed. Results: Comparing the preschool settings, children from Strasbourg and Landau were significantly more passive than children from Basel and Freiburg (P < .01). With regard to the family context as an important early-life factor, a higher number of children in a family along with the mother's and child's anthropometrical status are predictors of engagement in PA. Conclusion: More open preschool systems such as those in Basel, Freiburg, and Landau do not lead to more PA "per se" compared to the highly regimented desk-based system in France. Preliminaries such as special training and the number of caregivers might be necessary elements to enhance PA. In family contexts, targeted PA interventions for special groups should be more focused in the future.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of obesity
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    • "It is reported that contemporary children are less inclined to participate in physical activity and sports activities and spend more time indoors (Williams et al., 2008;Haga, 2009). Modern day technology, which includes computers and television, public transport, unsafe environments, increased crime and urbanisation, also further contribute to inactive lifestyles (Somers et al., 2006;Hills et al., 2007), which again limits a child's opportunities to develop motor skills and cause children to suffer from movement deficiency (Kretschmer, 2001). The rising obesity epidemic, which is associated with the lack of physical activity and poor motor skill development (Truter et al., 2012;Kemp &amp; Pienaar, 2013), is considered another probable contributing factor to this deficiency. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to establish a comprehensive profile of the motor proficiency of Grade 1 learners in the North West Province of South Africa, taking into account gender and racial differences and strengths and weaknesses. A stratified randomised sample of 816 Grade 1 learners (419 boys, 397 girls, mean age 6.84 years (+0.39), were assessed with the 'Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-2 Short Form'. The highest percentage of the group was classified in the below average (n=383; 49.63%) and average (n=405; 48.16%), descriptive categories for motor proficiency with poorest mastery indicated in fine motor integration, fine motor precision and strength. Boys performed significantly better than girls (p<0.05), while significantly more White learners were classified in the average descriptive category, compared to Black learners. The motor proficiency of more than 50% of school beginners was below average while girls and Black learners experienced motor proficiency problems to a greater extent compared to boys and White learners. These shortcomings place a high percentage of school beginners at risk for developmental problems associated with inadequate motor skills and should consequently be addressed, especially during the preschool years and the initial years of the primary school phase.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation
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    • "). Leikin ja liikkumisen avulla lapsi oppii tuntemaan oman kehonsa sekä ymmärtämään mitä kaikkia liikkeitä hän pystyy sillä tekemään (Gallahue ym., 2012, 174). Liikunta vaikuttaa myönteisesti lapsen sosiaaliseen ja henkiseen kehitykseen (Hills ym., 2007) sekä motoristen perustaitojen oppimiseen (Stodden ym., 2008), jotka jaetaan tasapainotaitoihin, liikkumistaitoihin sekä välineenkäsittelytaitoihin (Gallahue ym., 2012, 186). Motoristen perustaitojen kehittyminen vaatii mahdollisuutta liikkua päivittäin erilaisissa ympäristöissä ja erilaisten välineiden kanssa. "
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    ABSTRACT: TIIVISTELMÄ: Tämän tutkimuksen tarkoituksena oli selvittää 3-4-vuotiaiden lasten fyysisen aktiivisuuden intensiteetin eroja päiväkodissa eri vuodenaikoina sekä varhaiskasvattajan kannustuksen yhteyttä lasten fyysiseen aktiivisuuteen. Tutkimusjoukko muodostui päiväkotien vuonna 2007 syntyneistä vapaaehtoisista lapsista. Tutkimusaineisto kerättiin havainnoimalla OSRAC-P -havainnointimenetelmän avulla 14 päiväkodissa tammi-helmikuussa (N 94) sekä elo-syyskuussa (N 118) vuonna 2011. Lasten fyysinen aktiivisuus oli pääosan ajasta (noin 60 %) intensiteetiltään erittäin kevyttä. Intensiteetiltään vähintään keskiraskaan fyysisen aktiivisuuden esiintyvyys oli noin 10 %. Vuodenajalla oli erittäin merkitsevä yhteys lasten fyysisen aktiivisuuden intensiteettiin, sillä lapset olivat huomattavasti aktiivisempia elo-syyskuussa kuin tammi-helmikuussa. Varhaiskasvattajat kannustivat lapsia vain harvoin fyysiseen aktiivisuuteen, vaikka lasten aktiivisuus oli merkitsevästi suurempaa kannustettaessa. Varhaiskasvattajan kannustusta sisältäneissä tilanteissa lasten fyysinen aktiivisuus oli merkitsevästi suurempaa elo-syyskuussa kuin tammi-helmikuussa. Jatkossa tulisikin kiinnittää huomiota siihen, miten päiväkodeissa voitaisiin hyödyntää eri vuodenajat paremmin ja mahdollistaa lapsille fyysiseen aktiivisuuteen kannustavat olosuhteet ympäri vuoden. ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine whether season has an influence on the physical activity intensity of 3-4-year-old pre-school children. A further aim was to investigate the influence of prompting from teachers on the intensity of childrens' physical activity. Volunteer children born in 2007 comprised the research
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Journal of Early Childhood Education Research
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