More than 80 per cent of school going adolescents are not meeting current physical activity recommendations, according to the first-ever global trends for adolescent insufficient physical activity.
The study, which is based on data reported by 1.6 million students 11 to 17 years old, found that globally, 81 per cent of young people were insufficiently physically active (77.6% of boys and 84.7% of girls) in 2016 and did not reach the World Health Organization recommendations to do an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day.
While the data shows the prevalence of insufficient activity has slightly decreased for boys since 2001, there was no change over time in girls. Across all 146 countries studied between 2001 and 2016, girls were less active than boys in all but four (Tonga, Samoa, Afghanistan, and Zambia).
The region with the highest prevalence of insufficient activity in 2016 was high-income Asia Pacific for both boys and girls, while the regions with the lowest prevalence were high-income western countries for boys and south Asia for girls.
Presenting the findings in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, the authors said action aimed at increasing physical activity should be prioritised.