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Healthy Active Kids Report Card results are in ....
The results of the third Healthy Active Kids Report, which reviews the state of South African children’s health, was made available recently. The 2014 report builds on those of 2007 and 2010 to see if children’s physical activity, weight and nutrition have improved. Overall, South Africa has slid from a grade of C- in 2010 to a D in 2014.
What’s the big deal?
Levels of inactivity, overweight and obesity are all on the rise among urban youth, not only in South Africa, but worldwide. 35% of young people globally are physically inactive and being obese and overweight in teenage boys has doubled over a six-year period. This has led to predictions that some children born from 2000 onwards might, for the first time in generations, have a shorter life expectancy than their parents! There’s a lot that can be done to change this though. If we act now, the outlook can improve.
Results from the 2014 Healthy Active Kids Report Card
The latest review looked at available research on children’s health habits. This includes how much they play, how much fast food they eat, how much TV they watch and how much support they get for healthy choices at home and school.
Here are some of the findings around physical activity and nutrition:
- Overweight and obesity among children continue to increase; the intake of sugary drinks plays a major role. Our previous grade of C- has dropped to a D.
- Most children spend almost three hours a day watching TV during the week and even more over weekends. We got an F on sedentary behaviours.
- Less than half the children in SA cities take part in an organised sport or recreational activity. This is a C.
- At least half of South African children are active for less than an hour a day. This is not nearly enough and gives SA children a D for physical activity.
- More than two thirds of youngsters eat fast food at least three times a week. That’s an F.
- Only 50% of children eat enough fruit and vegetables – we get a C-.
- Less than half of children meet the recommendations on salt intake, giving us a D.
- For regulations on food advertising to children scores an F-. We definitely have some work in this area.