There is a lack of exercise in many families

There is a lack of exercise in many families

And the couch is always tempting: according to a study by health insurance companies, many german families don’t get enough exercise. At the same time, even young children spend more time with media than is good for them. That’s according to the 2018 AOK family study, which was presented in berlin.

The results on obesity and lack of exercise are a "clear alarm signal," the health insurance company declared. One reason for the phenomenon is lack of time of parents.

In addition to interviews with experts, the study is based on data provided by nearly 4900 families with children between the ages of 4 and 14. One in three families admits that exercise plays no or rather no role for them in their leisure time. And not even half of the families said they took their children out for a daily walk or bike ride. Families in which the parents are overweight or obese were particularly inactive – this was the case for more than one in two of the parents surveyed.

Only one in ten children is as active as recommended by the world health organization (WHO) – "an almost scandalous finding," said jutta mata from the chair of health psychology at the university of mannheim, who provided scientific support for the study. "One could actually speak of an activity crisis." However, the scores on this point are higher in other studies – although similar in tendency.

Data from the long-term kiggs study by the robert koch institute (RKI), for example, show that in the smartphone age, only a quarter of children and young people get 60 minutes of daily physical activity, as recommended by the WHO as a minimum. Just over half of girls between the ages of 3 and 17 do at least 90 minutes of sport a week, compared with around 63 percent of young people of the same age.

The kiggs study included data from more than 12,000 children. It also shows that, contrary to popular belief, the proportion of overweight and obese children has not increased in recent years – according to the RKI, the figures are "stagnating at a high level".

But the AOK study also sounds the alarm about media use: 59 percent of four- to six-year-olds used media for longer than the recommended daily limit of 30 minutes, and on weekends, as many as 84 percent of children in this age group exceeded this limit. For the seven to ten year olds – here the recommendation is 60 minutes – things look little better.

Family members didn’t have to plan extra exercise sessions in their busy daily lives: instead, expert jutta mata called for looking for options in everyday life: "so, is there a path i can walk to fub, is there a staircase i can still sprint up, is there a bike ride you can take."

Gerd landsberg, chief executive of the german association of cities and municipalities, pointed to the role model function of parents when it comes to healthy nutrition, exercise and sport. In the family study, however, only eleven percent of parents said they regularly did at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week – so even the majority of adults fall short of WHO recommendations.

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