Are our kids too hot to move?
Estimates suggest that at any given time only 20% of Australian children are sufficiently physically active.
Sufficient activity is defined as at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. It’s thought that seasons influence the propensity of children to be active.
To test this theory, school children from around Melbourne wore hip mounted accelerometers. An accelerometer measures steps and the velocity of movement to provide a information on how often and how fast kids move around during the day. In this study, measurements were taken for a week on each occasion.
During the winter and spring measurement period the children were the most active. They tended to be slightly less active during a damp spell in autumn. The surprising feature of this study was the reduction in physical activity during the summer.
During a week when the average daytime peak temperature was 28 o C, the children were less active by almost 13 minutes each day. Greater fluctuations were seen with girls.
Children of today are less active in summer than winter. Strategies are needed to try to create opportunities for kids to be active both at school and home.
Air-conditioned sports halls, swimming pools and play centres provide one set of possibilities as do mornings before the heat of the day sets in.
These findings add to the increasing evidence that children are increasingly inactive and much more attention is required to making sure kids have plenty of opportunity to be active.
Last Reviewed: 06/10/2019
Norman Swan Medical Communications
Ridgers ND et al. Too hot to move? Objectively assessed seasonal changes in Australian children’s physical activity. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition 2015;12:77. doi: 10.1186/s12966- 015-0245-x.
Breaking from the classroom
Schools and teachers can play a key role in improving physical activity levels in children.
Physical activity in children and teenagers
Encouraging kids and teens to be more active is not always easy. Find activities that your kids enjoy and build some activity into the whole family's day-to-day life to get them moving!
Should we be concerned around kids and screen time?
Few children meet the suggested guidelines for screen-time and physical activity, and it seems to be hurting their cognitive ability.
Can a high BMI as a baby affect you as a teen?
A recent Australian study aimed to find out whether fluctuating body mass index as a baby influenced your health in adolescence. These are the results.
More than one in 4 kids aged 5-17 years in Australia is above a healthy weight. Find out how to help kids make changes to their diet and activity levels.