Brit kids' fitness levels 'declining'

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London, Dec 22 (ANI): A new British study has found that most kids are staying away from physical activity and this idle lifestyle is making children unhealthy even if they are not obese.

Essex University conducted fitness tests on 600 children aged 10 in the gap of a decade.

The sports experts from Essex chose Chelmsford, an affluent town with low levels of obesity, for their tests.

They wanted to show how normal weight did not necessarily mean good fitness.

They conducted 20m shuttle run tests on 303 children in 1998.

The Archives of Disease in Childhood reported that last year, these tests were repeated on a similar number of 10-year-olds

Although, the obesity levels had remained almost unchanged, the fall in fitness levels was "large and worrying".

Experts observed a major dip in fitness levels, and concluded that the average 10-year-old in 1998 could beat 95 percent of youngsters in 2008 in running tests.

Researchers pointed out that similar conclusions could be expected from areas high obesity levels.

"The measurement of obesity alone may not be sufficient to keep an eye on children's future health. We need some form of monitoring of fitness," the BBC quoted lead researcher Dr Gavin Sandercock, as saying.

He added: "We have a generation of children who are spending more and more time in front of a screen, whether it is a TV or a computer.

"Schools are now trying to do more, but it is the lack of unstructured activity outside that is the problem."

"We have been concerned about the sedentary lifestyles of children for some time," Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said.

"But the focus on obesity is right at the moment because it is more directly linked to chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease." (ANI)

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