*CHILDHOOD PHYSICAL INACTIVITY REACHES CRISIS LEVELS AROUND THE GLOBE*
*Report compares 49 countries; says 75% of countries have failing physical
*NOVEMBER 27, 2018 – ADELAIDE, Australia –* Children around the world are
not moving enough too maintain healthy growth and development, according to
a global report released today.
The report by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance (AHKGA) compared 49
countries from six continents to assess global trends in childhood physical
activity in developed and developing nations, resulting in the â€œGlobal
Matrix 3.0â€ comparison of grades.
The report revealed that modern lifestyles – increases in screen time, the
growing urbanization of communities and the rise in automation of
previously manual tasks –“ are contributing to a pervasive public health
problem that must be recognized as a global priority.
â€œGlobal trends, including excessive screen time, are contributing to a
generation of inactive children and putting them on a dangerous path,â€
said Professor Mark Tremblay, President of the AHKGA and Senior Scientist
at the CHEO Research Institute in Canada. â€œWe have a collective
responsibility to change this because inactive children are at risk for
adverse physical, mental, social and cognitive health problems. This
generation will face a range of challenges, including the impacts of
climate change, increasing globalization, and the consequences of rapid
technological change. They will need to become habitually physically active
in order to grow into healthy, resilient adults who can survive and thrive
in a changing world.â€
The AHKGA international comparison involved 517 experts who produced 49 country report cards, grading 10 common indicators related to the physical activity of children and youth. The resulting report examines global patterns and highlights how our changing world is affecting children's physical activity levels. Increases in screen time and a growing reliance on technology are taking up crucial time that could be better spent engaged in a wide range of physical activities, and an increased use of motorized transport is changing physical activity levels globally.
Pushing back against these lifestyle shifts requires social engineering, not just built engineering, and the challenges vary depending on each country's stage of development, said Dr Tremblay. It will take many facets of society working together to shift behaviours to preserve and promote our childrenâ€™s right to play and be active. We hope this report will be a call to action for societies around the world.â€
*Learning from each other*
Countries with the most active children and youth overall, including
Slovenia, Zimbabwe and Japan, each rely on very different approaches to get
kids moving but what is consistent among all of them is that physical
activity is driven by pervasive cultural norms. Being active is not just a
choice, but a way of life.
- Slovenia obtained the best grades for Overall Physical Activity
(Aâˆ’), Family and Peers (B+), and Government (A), and received an overall
average grade of B.
- A notable feature in Slovenia is the importance of sport for the
culture of this almost 30-year old country as â€œ*Slovenes tend to
view sports as an effective tool in fostering national identity among
citizens and making successful global identity claims*.â€
- Zimbabwe reports above-average grades in Overall Physical Activity
(C+) and Sedentary Behaviours (B).
- Overall physical activity is mostly affected by active
transportation which, for the majority of the children in Zimbabwe, is a
necessity in everyday life.
- Japan had the best grades for Active Transportation (Aâˆ’) and
Physical Fitness (A), and had no grades lower than Câˆ’.
- Japan has a highly established â€œwalking to school practiceâ€ that has been implemented since the School Education Act enforcement order,
enacted in 1953. It states that public elementary schools should
within no more than 4 km, and for public junior high schools no
more than 6
km from the studentâ€™s home.
â€œThere much we can learn from each other to improve the grades around the
world,â€ said Professor Peter Katzmarzyk, AHKGA Vice-President and
Associate Executive Director for Population and Public Health Sciences at
the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
â€œPhysical inactivity is a global concern and can no longer be ignored.
For the good of our childrenâ€™s health and futures, we need to build
physical activity into all societies, and change social norms to get kids
*About the Global Matrix*
The global comparisons were led by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance
(AHKGA; www.activehealthykids.org ), a not-for-profit organization
dedicated to powering the movement to get kids moving. Each countryâ€™s
research process to determine grades was based on the framework from the
ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Ten
common indicators were compared: Overall Physical Activity, Organized Sport
and Physical Activity, Active Play, Active Transportation, Sedentary
Behaviour, Physical Fitness, Family and Peers, School, Community and
Environment, and Government. Report Cards from each of the 49 countries, as
well as the results of the global comparisons, were presented at the
opening plenary of the Movement to Move Conference
<http://www.movementtomove.com.au/> in Adelaide, Australia and published in
the Journal of Physical Activity and Health
<https://journals.humankinetics.com/toc/jpah/15/s2> on November 27, 2018.
Complete details of the Global Matrix 3.0, each countryâ€™s grades, report
cards, priorities for action, quotes from country leaders and more are
available at www.activehealthykids.org. The â€œGlobal Matrix 1.0â€ (2014,
15 countries) and â€œGlobal Matrix 2.0â€ (2016, 38 countries) findings are
also available on the AHKGA website.
The AHKGA is committed to informing, guiding and facilitating solutions to
the global childhood inactivity crisis. This Global Matrix 3.0 confirms
there are challenges for children, communities and cultures around the
world. Identified priorities for action include:
- Creating a global movement for comprehensive school physical activity
programs that support and allow ALL children and youth to meet the physical
activity guidelines through a variety of strategic interventions (e.g.,
active recess options, physical activity breaks, compulsory physical
- Creating a global culture of active kids / active people in all
settings, prioritizing active transportation above other modes of
- Investing in comprehensive social interventions and research to
improve implementation and uptake strategies to manage recreational screen
time among children and youth.
- Developing a standardized global surveillance system of the physical
activity and related indicators among children and youth to fill the
current gaps, especially in low- and medium-income countries.
*Further information on solutions to â€œimprove the gradeâ€ is available
*For more information, please contact:*
Dr. Mark Tremblay
Director of Communications, CHEO Research Institute
*Please see the Global Matrix 3.0 tab for a complete table of grades from
*Chalchisa Abdeta (BSc, MPH)*
*Country Contact for Ethiopia*
*Global Observatory for Physical Activity-GoPA! , and*
*Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance (AHKGA)*
CHIFA profile: Chalchisa Abdeta is Physical Activity Expert & Researcher at the Haramaya University in Ethiopia. Professional interests: Physical Activity. caaliphysio AT gmail.com