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Half of teens watch more than two hours of TV a day, study shows 

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The study shows virtual schooling and social distancing have drastically reduced physical activity among adolescents. Photo: Posed by model

The study shows virtual schooling and social distancing have drastically reduced physical activity among adolescents. Photo: Posed by model

Screen time: The study shows virtual schooling and social distancing have drastically reduced physical activity among teens.

Screen time: The study shows virtual schooling and social distancing have drastically reduced physical activity among teens.

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The study shows virtual schooling and social distancing have drastically reduced physical activity among adolescents. Photo: Posed by model

Global efforts to improve physical activity have stalled as Irish adolescents are among those who are spending hours daily watching television or playing computer games.

The Cambridge University study in the Lancet involved researchers examining screen time in adolescents in 38 European countries.

They found 60pc of boys and 56pc of girls spent two hours or more a day watching television.

In addition 51pc of boys and 33pc of girls were for more than two hours daily playing computer games.

Figures for Ireland relate to how many hours 11- to 15-year-olds spend watching television or playing computer games.

It showed over half of boys and 49pc of girls were watching television daily for more than two hours.

A high proportion were also spending a long time on computer games – 38pc of boys and 31pc of girls.

The researchers said despite the growing number of young people diagnosed with non-communicable diseases including cardio-metabolic and mental health disorders the research on adolescent physical activity is limited.

Global analysis shows that 80pc of school-going adolescents are failing to meet the World Health Organisation’s recommended guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity a day with little progress made since 2012.

“In addition, 40pc of adolescents never walk to school and 25pc sit for more than three hours per day in addition to sitting at school and for homework,” it said.

Lead author of the paper Dr Esther van Sluijs of Cambridge University said: “We desperately need to explore both the short- and long-term consequences physical inactivity has on adolescents and identify effective ways of promoting increases in physical activity especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“Virtual schooling and social distancing have drastically reduced physical activity and increased use of screens, and the consequences of these changes, could last a lifetime.

“Adolescents make up nearly one quarter of the world’s population. By ensuring they grow up in social and physical environments that are supportive of physical activity we are helping to change their health right now, improve future health, and positively influence the health of the next generation.”


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