Physical activity level in pediatric population: A comprehensive review
Physical activity (PA) is a key component in the maintenance and attainment of healthy, active, well-nourished and psycho-social well-being of a society. Hence, the reduction of sedentary lifestyle has featured in many countries as an important arm of policy designed to address childhood chronic diseases of lifestyle risk factors. The purpose of this study was to review childhood (aged 1-22 years) PA variation in six different continents using individual studies published in English during the first decade of the 21st century. A computerized literature search was carried out and sometimes individuals in the pediatric PA area were requested to send some of their recently published reports in the field. The results of different studies were often difficult to interpret and compare due to different methods of measuring PA, differences in the analysis, reporting of insufficient data and lack of consensus on the appropriate cut-offs. Boys were physically more active than girls in all the five continents. South America and Oceania showed a high level of physical activity among both boys and girls compared to other continents. Social intervention to improve safety, rebuilding of physical environment may help to build a healthy and active society. An alternative route would be to incorporate physical education in both public and private school curricula as a compulsory monitored subject.
Keywords: Physical activity, Physical education, children, adolescents, chronic diseases of lifestyle, built environment.
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