A generation of couch potatoes at risk

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London, Dec 27 (UNI) Sedentary lifestyles are putting a generation of children at risk of future health problems, a major study warns.

The findings showed that most three-year-olds are failing to develop properly because of their ''couch potato'' lifestyles.

Educational psychologists from Durham county council assessed the movement skills of 400 children aged three and a half through a series of exercises.

They found 57 per cent could not do tasks expected at their age, such as crawling through a tunnel, walking sideways and heel to toe along a straight line, and running without falling over or bumping into things.

The Daily Mail quoted Dr Madeleine Portwood, the council's senior educational psychologist who led the research, as saying, ''It seemed that for the vast majority of these children, it was the lack of opportunity to practise these skills that was the problem.

''I would expect a three-year-old to run quite competently but they were tripping over their legs and not running in a straight line, or running into obstacles. They weren't judging distances well. It was as though they were six months behind developmentally,'' she said.

Dr Portwood said inactive lifestyles were a major contributory factor as children engaged in less outdoor activity and preferred to engage in computer activities or watch the television.

UNI

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