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Majority Of Adolescents Inactive; Their Health At Risk: WHO Report

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A new study led by the World Health Organization (WHO) says majority of adolescents worldwide are not sufficiently physically active, putting their current and future health at risk.

The study, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal and produced by researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO), finds that most of school-going adolescents globally did not meet current recommendations of at least one hour of physical activity per day.

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

While 85 percent of girls belong to this category, 78 percent of boys do not indulge in sufficient physical activities.

The first ever global trends for adolescent insufficient physical activity show that urgent action is needed to increase physical activity levels in girls and boys aged 11 to 17 years.

The study is based on data reported by 1.6 million students in the 11-17 age group.

The biggest difference in the proportion of boys and girls meeting the recommendations was seen in the United States and Ireland - more than 15 percentage points.

The authors say that levels of insufficient physical activity in adolescents continue to be extremely high, compromising their current and future health.

Dr Regina Guthold, who is the author of the study, called for urgent policy action to increase physical activity, particularly to promote and retain girls' participation in physical activity.

The health benefits of a physically active lifestyle during adolescence include improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone and cardiometabolic health, and positive effects on weight.

To achieve these benefits, the WHO recommends for adolescents to do moderate or vigorous physical activity for an hour or more each day.

In 2016, Philippines was the country with the highest prevalence of insufficient activity among boys (93 percent), whereas South Korea showed highest levels among girls (97 percent) and both genders combined (94 percent). Bangladesh was the country with the lowest prevalence of insufficient physical activity among both genders combined (66 percent).

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