Introduction Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that the increasing morbidity and mortality attributable to chronic cardiovascular disease is associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, clinicians should encourage people to stay away from a sedentary lifestyle and promote appropriate physical activity (PhyA). A primary goal of public health should be the promotion of physically active lifestyles in children. As it has been previously reported that aim is not yet fulfilled in adolescence.
To know the intensity and type of PhyA currently performed by our children.
To establish priorities to improve our children’s PhyA.
To estimate sedentary “screen-time” activities.
To establish strategies to modify unhealthy habits.
Methods We enrolled 329 children attending the school in our village. Parental consent was obtained. Ages ranged from 4 to 13 years. PhyA information was obtained from: 1) a 7-day PhyA questionnaire; 2) the K13Plus PhyA and “screen-time” behaviour scale.
Results Mean time of each activity (minutes/day):
Low-intensity PhyA: 34.8±29.9.
Moderate-intensity PhyA: 59.0±52.7.
High-intensity PhyA: 26.4±28.2.
According to the current recommendations for PhyA in childhood, our results indicate that especially low-intensity PhyA should be encouraged.
Measures for controlling “screen-time” (will not increase) are required.
A multidisciplinary work group (health care professionals, physicians, teachers and professional organisations) should promote school and community programs to enhance PhyA and to encourage the whole family to practice exercise.