Six out of ten Spanish children and adolescents do not practice the physical exercise recommended by the WHO, and it is very worrying

Yesterday, the results of the PASOS study were presented, a pioneering study on the physical activity and lifestyles of Spanish children and adolescents, carried out by the Gasol Foundation. According to this research, Only 36.4% of children do the physical exercise advised by WHO and almost 80% spend more time than recommended in front of the screens.

Physical inactivity and increasing sedentary lifestyle are increasing the figures of overweight and obesity among the child population of our country, so it is urgent to take measures aimed at reducing these alarming figures.

Only 36.4% of children and adolescents practice the recommended physical exercise

STEPS (acronym for the acronym in English Physical Activity, Sedentarism and Obesity in Spanish Youth) is a pioneering study in Spain carried out by the Gasol Foundation - launched by brothers Marc and Pau Gasol-, an entity committed to preventing Childhood obesity through the promotion of physical exercise.

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The objective was to evaluate the physical activity, sedentary lifestyle, lifestyles and obesity of Spanish children and adolescents and their families. For this, the data of a representative sample of 3,803 children (between eight and 16 years old), selected in 245 educational centers in 121 locations in each Spanish autonomous community.

The results were presented yesterday at a school in Madrid by Pau Gasol and the Minister of Health, María Luisa Carcedo, and they cannot be more discouraging:

63.6% of Spanish children and adolescents do not practice the 60 daily minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity recommended by the WHO, that is, the one that accelerates the heart rate and breathing.

The percentage of children who fail to comply with the recommendations is higher among girls than among boys, and also among Secondary students than among those in Primary. Curiously, the decrease in physical activity as children grow is inversely proportional to the increase in the time they make screens.

More than a third of Spanish children are obese or overweight

According to WHO, children should use the screens for less than two hours a day. This time would cover both mobile phones and tablets, such as computers, television and video games.

However, the STEPS study warns that 80% of children fail to comply with this data, being especially worrying on weekends (in which the recommended screen times are more than twice exceeded) and the adolescent band.

The combination between increasing physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle are resulting in an increase in obesity among Spanish minors. Not surprisingly, almost four out of ten children and adolescents in our country are overweight or obese.

Childhood obesity is a worldwide problem, whose numbers have multiplied by 10 in the last 40 years, being considered the "epidemic of the 21st century". The data from this study show the importance of taking effective measures from all areas of society, aimed at encouraging physical exercise among children and establishing healthy lifestyle habits.

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The family is the one who plays the most important role and parents should be aware of the serious health problems that childhood obesity can cause. For this, it is essential to set an example with the practice of daily physical exercise, control the time our children spend in front of the screens and provide them with a healthy and balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables and eliminating excess sugar.

But also healthy habits should be encouraged from schools, both in school canteens, and with an increase in the practice of physical exercise. However, unfortunately the subject of physical education has been losing weight over time, and Spanish students currently only have an hour and a half of exercise per week. Clearly, insufficient.

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Recall that among other problems associated with childhood obesity is an increased risk of obesity in adulthood, diabetes, cardiovascular and joint diseases, cancer and mental health problems.

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