A Global Epidemic of Childhood Inactivity

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‘Global epidemic’ of childhood inactivity

Four in five 11- to 17-year-olds around the world are not taking enough physical exercise, according to the first such analysis.

The World Health Organization says children’s health is being damaged as well as their brain development and social skills.

It says failing to take the recommended hour a day of exercise is a universal problem in rich and poor countries.

Boys were more active than girls in all but four of the 146 countries studied.

This new epidemic is probably the result of banning children from playing games anywhere except in designated ‘playgrounds’. My experience of childhood was that we ran around a lot, usually playing games like football. We only stopped running around madly when school rules forbade us from running.

We had lots and lots of school rules. No running. No talking. No hands in pockets. And, of course, no smoking. There was never any reason given for any of these rules, as far as I could see. They were all completely arbitrary restrictions. Their only shared characteristic was that they stopped you doing something you wanted to do (not that I had any interest in smoking when I was at school, except to break school rules for the sake of breaking them).

Now, of course, the whole world has become a school, and we have all been made children again, and subjected to the tyranny of arbitrary school rules – like no smoking. I wonder when they’ll bring in the No Hands In Pockets rule?

Anyway, I hope this new epidemic isn’t catching. Or that it’s restricted to chiiiiildren. I’m thoroughly sick of chiiiiildren.

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7 Responses to A Global Epidemic of Childhood Inactivity

  1. Andy Dan says:

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity be at some point satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    C. S. Lewis

  2. smokingscot says:

    I can’t talk about the whole world; just the bits I see. And that’s a pile of vehicles dropping off and picking up children from school, sports places and even parties.

    I can sympathise with parents because there have been so many well publicised cases of abductions and other abhorrent things, so yes I’d probably get an SUV, or 4 X 4 to ferry them around.

    Then there’s mobile devices; those that I do see walking seem to be like their adult peers, engrossed in them. They “type” one helluva lot, so I assume they’re on social media sites, or just texting.

    So not many walk to school, probably only those who live close by. And their “virtual” friends take precedence over real ones, so not a lot of malarkey for the middle class ones, or those who live in outer suburbs after school, or even during school holidays.

    Those from less well off families, or in “council” estates are far more likely to goof around after school and be more capable of seeing off any kiddie fiddler when they shanks it to school.

    And let’s not forget the options available to our youngsters. If they get tee’d off with their parents, they can contact lots of help lines – and they invariably side with the kid. Oh and it’s law in some countries that parents may not smack their protégé and if they do, they can be incarcerated.

    But I don’t see that many seriously obese children so – like yourself – I am deeply sceptical of these studies.

  3. waltc says:

    Unintended consequences: I have a chart somewhere that shows adult obesity rose exponentially and in inverse proportion as the smoking rate dropped. Same with prescriptions for anti-depressants.

  4. Lepercolonist says:

    “We had lots and lots of school rules. No running. No talking. No hands in pockets.”

    This sounds like the Catholic elementary school I attended in the 50’s and 60’s. If you needed to go to the room across the hall you had to walk military style all the way to the end of the hall and back around the other side to get to the room. No talking, including lunch time. Sexually repressed nuns rapping our knuckles with a yard stick. Constantly reminded that if we do not confess our sins then we will burn in hell. And our parents agreed to this behavior.

  5. slugbop007 says:

    How can the WHO claim that 4 in 5 children ages 11 to 17 do not get enough exercise? Did they do a global study that took years to conduct? We are talking about close to a billion children. Their pretense to be an authority on all matters of health is quite arrogant and breathtaking to say the least.


  6. slugbop007 says:

    If children had their way they would skip school altogether and play to their heart’s content.


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