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Physical activity of children: WHO recommendations and national actions

New WHO-led study says majority of adolescents worldwide are not sufficiently physically active. The first ever global trends for adolescent insufficient physical activity show that than 80 percent of school-going adolescents globally did not meet current recommendations of at least one hour of physical activity per day.

«Urgent policy action to increase physical activity is needed now, particularly to promote and retain girls’ participation in physical activity,» says study author Dr. Regina Guthold, WHO.

Issues of a healthy lifestyle, physical activity, and proper nutrition were at the topic of discussions at an intersectoral conference held on Thursday in Ashgabat. Participants discussed forms and methods of action to promote and retain behavioral health among children and youth at the era of digital technology.

The health benefits of a physically active lifestyle during adolescence include improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone and cardiometabolic health. In addition, physical activity has a positive impact on cognitive development and socializing. Current evidence suggests that many of these benefits continue into adulthood.

According to the authors of the WHO study, countries need to pursue policies aimed at increasing the level of all types of physical activity, including through physical education, creating opportunities for sports and active leisure.

In Turkmenistan, all conditions have been created to practice various sports; there is the necessary infrastructure that meets modern standards. For example, the modern Olympic village of Ashgabat, which will host the 2020Asian Futsal Championship next year, the Davis Cup international tennis tournament stage, the Sambo World Championship.

To improve levels of physical activity among adolescents, the WHO study recommends that urgent scaling up is needed of known effective policies and programmes to increase physical activity in adolescents as well as multisectoral action is needed to offer opportunities for young people to be active, involving education, urban planning, road safety and others.