Scotland

Scots children among 'least active in world' says study

Children gaming Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The report found that Scottish children spend longer playing video games than carrying out physical activity

Scottish children are among the least active in the world, according to a new report.

The study, involving research from Strathclyde University, looked at the behaviour of children from 15 countries.

Scotland came bottom of two tables - physical activity, and one for screen-based leisure such as video gaming.

However, it scored higher in the community support and child health categories.

The findings are part of the first "Global Matrix" of children's physical activity which is set to be unveiled in Toronto, Canada.

The Global Matrix assessed nine indicators - overall physical activity; organised sport participation; active play; active transportation; sedentary behaviours; family and peers; school; community and built environment; and government strategies and investments.

Each of these indicators is assigned a grade, from the top A mark, down to F.

Scotland scored an F in two categories - overall physical activity, and sedentary behaviour - or screen-based leisure time.

Its best ratings - of B - came in the categories of "community and built environment" - which includes the availability of parks and playgrounds - as well as "government strategies and investments".

Ten of the countries who took part in the survey reported low or falling grades in physical activity.

'Magic formula'

Prof John Reilly, of Strathclyde University's School of Psychological Sciences and Health, said: "The Global Matrix reveals an interesting relationship between lower physical activity and higher sedentary behaviour in countries with better infrastructure, and indeed we found this to be the case in Scotland.

"What comes out very strongly is there is great variation around the globe and no single country has found a magic formula to improve children's health.

The report went on to suggest that the variation in the results between countries shows that there is scope for different countries to teach each other how they approach policies on how to improve the health of their children.

Fifteen countries submitted data to the Global Matrix - Australia, Canada, Colombia, England, Finland, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, South Africa, and the United States.

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