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Physical activity behaviours in adolescence: current evidence and opportunities for intervention

Source: The Lancet 21.07.2021


Young people aged 10–24 years constitute 24% of the world's population; investing in their health could yield a triple benefit—eg, today, into adulthood, and for the next generation. However, in physical activity research, this life stage is poorly understood, with the evidence dominated by research in younger adolescents (aged 10–14 years), school settings, and high-income countries. Globally, 80% of adolescents are insufficiently active, and many adolescents engage in 2 h or more daily recreational screen time. In this Series paper, we present the most up-to-date global evidence on adolescent physical activity and discuss directions for identifying potential solutions to enhance physical activity in the adolescent population. Adolescent physical inactivity probably contributes to key global health problems, including cardiometabolic and mental health disorders, but the evidence is methodologically weak. Evidence-based solutions focus on three key components of the adolescent physical activity system: supportive schools, the social and digital environment, and multipurpose urban environments. Despite an increasing volume of research focused on adolescents, there are still important knowledge gaps, and efforts to improve adolescent physical activity surveillance, research, intervention implementation, and policy development are urgently needed.

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