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Too little exercise: Children become more and more lethargic

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Too little exercise: Children become more and more lethargic

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily for school-aged children and adolescents. However, according to the latest “Study on the Health of Children and Adolescents in Germany” (KiGGS study) by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), only one in three boys and one in four girls achieve this recommendation in Germany. Current data from the KKH Kaufmännische Krankenkasse also show that the proportion of school-age adolescents suffering from motor development disorders increased by another 44 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Older young people are particularly affected: the increase was almost 120 percent among fifteen to eighteen year olds, 66 percent among eleven to fourteen year olds and around 30 percent among six to ten year olds. Motor development deficits can affect gross motor skills, such as running and climbing, as well as fine motor skills, i.e. movements of the hands and fingers, face and facial expressions. Affected children, for example, walk unsteadily, stumble more often, and have difficulty holding pens or cutlery.

The lack of exercise at a young age comes at the expense of physical fitness, and less endurance, mobility, muscle strength and coordination ability can, in the long term, lead to physical illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or joint problems, but also to mental illnesses such as frustration, lack of self-confidence and fears and lead to isolation.

A comment from Julia Anton Published/Updated: Recommendations: 7 Published/Updated: Recommendations: 5 Reiner Burger Published/Updated: Recommendations: 6

According to KKH, which is one of the largest health insurance companies in Germany with 1.6 million insured people, the corona pandemic, with schools and sports clubs temporarily closed, has accelerated the trend among the youngest towards a lack of exercise. Parents should make sure that their children do not spend the rest of the day sitting at home on their smartphone or computer after school and homework. Two to three hours of school sports per week are far from enough for healthy development.

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