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We work for that - 3

Healthy children

The following excerpts from the Danish Health and Medicines Authority's website shed light on how Father for Life, outdoor school and garden therapy can contribute to creating a meaningful framework for physical activity for children who are not necessarily attracted to sports and sports. These are challenges that Green Care Denmark will help to solve: By going out into the open and e.g. help to feed animals and play with other children in the open, physical activity is a natural part of the experience and does not become a goal in itself, which is judged, as is the case with sports and sports.

Health promotion and physical activity

Physical activity is important for health. It can i.a. prevent cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and colon cancer, and it also has a positive impact on metabolism and on the hormonal system. In addition to the health benefits of physical activity, physical activity also provides better well-being, learning and motor skills.

All people - children and adults, young and old, men and women - can improve their health by exercising regularly, even if they have not been physically active before. Physical activity does not have to be strenuous to achieve health benefits.

In young children, movement strengthens motor development and motor skills, which strengthens the child's prerequisites for being physically active. In addition, being physically active also has a positive effect on the child's self-esteem and on the child's participation in social contexts. For older children, physical activity brings a number of health benefits such as better fitness, stronger bones, less fat in the blood and less risk of pre-diabetes. In addition, a physically active life as a child can help prevent diseases later in life.

Physical activity also has a positive impact on the well-being and mental health of children and young people. self-esteem, self-confidence and interaction with the environment. It is important for the children's well - being that the physical activity is carried out so that it provides good experiences for the child.

Too many 11-15 year olds move too little

Only a few 11- to 15-year-olds live up to the Danish Health and Medicines Authority's recommendation for physical activity. This is shown by a new study, which for the first time has objectively measured how much these young people move.

At the National Board of Health, we recommend that children and young people be physically active for at least one hour a day at moderate to high intensity. But the new survey shows that only 26 percent of 11-15 year olds live up to that recommendation, and that the same group of young people on average spend more than 11 waking hours each day sitting or lying down.

These are worrying results, says project manager at the National Board of Health Tue Kristensen: 

“We know that physical activity has a number of positive effects on the health and well-being of children and young people, so it is important that they get up from their chairs and sofas and move more than they do today. Children and young people who are active have better fitness, stronger bones, less fat in the blood, and less risk of developing obesity and pre-stages of diabetes. ”

The study, prepared by the National Institute of Public Health for the National Board of Health, is the first of its kind in Denmark for the target group of 11-15-year-olds. In the study, their level of physical activity is measured through a small rangefinder attached to the thigh. The rangefinder provides a more accurate measure of how much the 11-15 year olds are moving than previous studies where young people have been asked how physically active they are. 

The youngest boys move the most

There is a big difference in the level of activity between boys and girls. 33 percent of the boys live up to the recommendation, while it applies to 19 percent of the girls.

The most active age group is the 11-year-old boys, with 42 percent living up to the recommendations. The least active are the 15-year-old girls, where 6 percent meet the recommendations. 

Among 11-year-olds, 34 percent live up to the recommendations, with 24 percent of 13-year-olds and 10 percent of 15-year-olds. Again, the girls are less physically active than the boys in the three age groups.

Need for extra focus

"The new figures are surprisingly negative. We know that if you are physically active as a young person, you are more likely to continue to be physically active as an adult and older. Therefore, even more must be done to support the 11-15-year-olds in being physically active in everyday life, ”says Tue Kristensen.

At the same time, he points out that the framework and opportunities for supporting 11-15-year-olds in being physically active in everyday life already exist. But that there is a need to put in with extra focus and efforts from the actors in the field.  

“There are many ways in which children and young people can become more active. They can, for example, cycle or go to and from school, go to an activity where they are physically active, for example to scout, football, gymnastics, role play, dance or swimming, or be physically active during school hours. In addition, parents and adults who are in contact with the 11-15-year-olds in everyday life can encourage and support them to be physically active, and by limiting some of the time they spend sitting or lying down during the day. ”.

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