Young people move too little

  • Soort:Nieuws Fietsberaad
  • Datum:05-01-2009

Getting young people ages 12-17 to move sufficiently is one of the major challenges for the near future. The majority of youths doesn&'t mind moving more. But converting the intention into action seems to be a bridge too far. Infrastructure for an active lifestyle (bike paths, pavements, playgrounds, sports centres) could do with improvements. And traffic volumes and the ensuing danger impede a physically active school commute, states TNO in 'Trendrapport Bewegen en Gezondheid 2006/2007'


  • Only 45% of youths meet the standard for moving; for 12-17 year olds the percentage is even less (38%). The time spent on physical exercise is considerably less for youths than for adults, too.
    According to the ‘30-minute move’ campaign the standard for young people is ‘double 30!’, while in actual practice many do not even meet the ‘single-30’ standard. More hours of PE in schools is a good start for youngsters up to 12, according to the report.
    For those over 12 (who are actually least active) few tangible steps have been made to get them to move more. Cycling/walking to school provide opportunities, according to TNO. Even though the time spent on these activities remains limited. In this group sports (inside or outside school) are a major source for sufficient and intensive physical exercise.
    The percentage of the Dutch who meet the Dutch standard for healthy activity was approximately 44% in 2000. In later years this rose to 59% in 2007. The percentage of Dutch meeting the fitness standard gradually increased from 19% to 24% over the period 2000-2004, but dropped to 16% over the period 2005-2007. The percentage of people meeting the combined standard reached a high in 2006 with 68% but dropped to 64% in 2007. Work/school and household work remain the major sources of everyday physical activity for adults (59%).
    According to TNO it is remarkable that in 2006/2007 physical activities in leisure time (gardening/odd jobs, walking/hiking, sports and cycling) decrease somewhat, contrary to trends over the years 2000-2005.

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    Three definitions are used for the concept ‘'healthy activity level'. The Dutch Norm Gezond Bewegen, the fitness standard and the combination standard. People meet the combined standard when they meet at least one of both [source: Trendrapport Bewegen en Gezondheid 2006/2007 - TNO].
    The Dutch Norm Gezond Bewegen ■ Young people (below 18 years of age) Daily (summer and winter) one hour of at least moderately intensive physical activity (5 MET (for instance aerobics or skateboarding) to 8 MET (for instance running at 8 km/hour)), with activities aimed at least twice a week at improving or maintaining physical fitness (strength, limberness and co-ordination).
    ■ Adults (18-55) Daily (summer and winter) at least half an hour moderately intensive physical activity (between 4 and 6.5 MET), at least 5 days a week. Moderate physical activity means for adults for instance walking at a brisk pace (5 km/hour) or cycling (16 km/hour).
    ■ 55-plus: at least half an hour of moderately intensive physical activity (between 3 and 5 MET) at least five and preferably all days of the week (summer and winter). Moderately intensive means for people over 55 for instance walking at a speed of 4 km an hour or cycling at 10 km an hour. For inactive people, with or without disabilities, any extra amount of physical activity is useful, independent of intensity, duration, frequency and type.
    [1 MET equals the energy used in sitting quietly.] 

    Fitness standard
    Strongly intensive activity at least three times a week for at least 20 minutes (summer and winter).

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