It is not a myth that physical fitness is vital for overall good physical health and mental health. If you want to live a long and healthy life it is essential to get regular exercise. Yet in spite of an increased awareness of this it appears as if fitness levels of our kids are falling dramatically. The University of Essex reported on June 19, 2015, child fitness levels have fallen further than feared.
Researchers at the University of Essex say that child fitness levels have been falling at an even faster rate than was initially feared. At this time evidence has emerged that this trend has nothing to do with obesity. The researchers followed up on their study in 2009 which showed child fitness decreased by 8 percent over the previous ten years. Now these researchers have reported an even greater decrease in fitness in schoolchildren. However, this time they observed the kids who they tested were actually thinner than those kids they measured in 2008.
Lead researcher Dr Gavin Sandercock says these findings showed there is not an obesity crisis in the schools they went to as less than 5 percent of the students were obese and the average BMI was found to now be below 1998 values. This would have come out as really good news if BMI was all the researchers had measured. However a different story came out from their fitness studies. It was observed that even though kids they studied should have been able to exercise better due to lower weights the kids overall still couldn’t run very fast. This implies the kids had low cardiorespiratory fitness.
Dr Sandercock says fitness is a vital indicator of child and adult health. Any evidence of a decline in fitness should raise concern. It is the position of Dr Sandercock that the continued reliance on BMI as the stand-alone measurement of the health of kids clearly does not give us a full assessment of health.
In 2009 it was reported by the research team at Essex that English children’s fitness was decreasing at twice the global rate, or at 0.8 percent per year. The most recent findings have suggested that fitness has been decreasing even faster over the past six years with an overall fall of 0.95 percent per year. Dr Sandercock has shared the opinion that we should introduce child fitness testing in schools.
In the United States the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition reports that long-term health benefits are gained for everyone from physical activity. Offering opportunities for kids to be active early in life puts them on a path to better overall health in body and mind. Staying fit can be as simple as enjoying a walk with the family dog. On a daily basis staying fit should clearly be considered to be as important as getting good nutrition and good nights sleep.