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Lockdown does not affect the health of children and adolescents

Lockdown does not affect the health of children and adolescents

Only 15.6 percent. During the pandemic, children have been following the minimum exercise recommended by the World Health Organization, according to unpublished “Youth and COVID-19” research by the Mother and Child Institute. But even before the epidemic, this indicator worsened from year to year.

In the lockdown, all levels of physical activity in children and adolescents decreased. The “Youth and COVID 19” study was conducted by the Institute for Child and Youth Health (IMID) in 2021. More than 1,500 children completed the online survey. The results of the epidemic were compared with the results of the 2018 HBSC study.

Boys before contracting the virus met the recommendations of the World Health Organization by 18.2%. – There was a decrease of 12.5 percent. during the epidemic. In the case of girls, the rate of meeting recommendations was 13.2%. It fell to 8.4 percent. Among children 11 years old before the pandemic, about 23 percent. Fulfilling the recommendations, in the event of the epidemic spreading only 12.1%; Among 17-year-olds before the pandemic 9.8%, in the pandemic – 8.4% At the same time, these results were developed mainly by children who had houses with gardens, where it was possible to create a trampoline, for example. Those who exercised at home also moved because they had self-denial. Children who live in the countryside won.

– That physical activity among girls has lower rates and worsens with age has been regularly observed in our studies for years. A change in the ratio of muscle to fat in girls occurs due to the hormonal processes involved in puberty. Body proportions also change. Younger children should be the most active, which is developmentally normal, says Dr. Hanna Knights of IMID’s Institute for Child and Youth Health.

Go ahead, cheers

Dr Janusz Dubuz of the National Center for Research on the Physical Condition, AWF Warsaw, noted that the epidemic had significantly reduced the motor activity of children who had previously participated in many sports activities. They moved, were much better than their peers, and did better in sports tests than the average in Poland. After lockdown and distance learning, these children’s stamina and strength decreased significantly. It was enough for them to do three or four hours of exercise a week and after six months this had an effect on their fitness.

This fact was revealed by research conducted by the PIB Institute of Sports under the MSiT “School Sports Club” (SKS) program. There, changes in fitness test results were compared in two annual periods: before the pandemic (Fall 2018 – Fall 2019) and during the pandemic (Fall 2019 – Fall 2020). While the physical changes before and during the pandemic were very similar (nearly or less the number of children increased, maintained their weight or decreased their BMI), changes in fitness test scores clearly worsened.

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Before the epidemic 46.4% of children worsened their score in the 50-meter sprint during the year, during the epidemic, the deterioration of the score was already 53.6%. Children participating in SKS classes. At the 600m distance the percentage was 41.2%, respectively. And 49.4 percent improving kids in this age group says a lot, too. Prior to the pandemic, an outcome improvement was achieved in another study of 35.4%. Children surveyed. During the epidemic, his score improved by only 25.2 percent. Students from SKS.

– This is evidence that it is necessary to improve the physical education of younger generations, change people’s attitudes and strongly shape their need for physical activity. And it’s not supposed to lead to Olympic success. Sports teachers can get to know them by the way. If you find a talented child, such as Robert Lewandowski, Iga Švetik or Anita Vodarzyk, and offer him to play sports, you can open the way to a career in life. Globally, however, it should merely be a social concern for the health of future generations. The amount of movement today, and how we shape attitudes toward our physicality, depends on how we function at the age of fifty, sixty or eighty. The result will be, among other things. The productive power of society, the personal and public activity of citizens, the range of required health services and the relevant level of medical care, the possibility of helping patients, etc. – says Dr. Dubush.

Movement in children and adolescents: what does the World Health Organization recommend?

The World Health Organization recommends that children between the ages of 5 and 17 should be active for at least 60 minutes a day to at least moderate intensity. Longer is better.

This should be an aerobic activity such as running, team games, and cycling where large muscle groups are involved. Preferably outdoors. But swimming is also recommended. Aerobic and aerobic activity causes the heart rate and breathing to speed up, and we feel the body moving to exercise – Dr. Hanna Knights explains.

The World Health Organization also recommends that children should do intense exercise 2-3 times a week, accompanied by heating up and sweating (VPA index).

– Such activity is needed by children in the period of growth in order to grow properly, strengthen bones and muscles, as well as build up the efficiency of the respiratory, circulatory, musculoskeletal and organ systems – emphasizes Dr. Hanna Knights.

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Meanwhile, in the report “Student health in 2018 against the background of the new research model HBSC” we read: “Comparing the data obtained in the last two rounds of research, from 2014 and 2018, a statistically significant deterioration in the level of intense physical activity was found For young people, the proportion of teens who exercise at least four times a week has dropped from 40.5% to 33.1 percent.”

The above-mentioned HBSC research from 2018 shows that only 21 percent. and 24 percent. 11-year-old boys do 1 hour of planned physical activity each day. Experts stress that parents play a major role in building a proper exercise habit. Meanwhile, it remains only 44 percent. After school, children engage in physical activity (walking, cycling) with their parents. 48 percent of children are taken to school by their parents.

Sitting in front of the computer, motionless

According to the World Health Organization, a sedentary lifestyle ranks fourth among the causes of human mortality in the world – after high blood pressure, smoking and high blood sugar levels.

The report from the World Health Organization International Research and European Childhood Obesity Monitoring Initiative (COSI) 2017 report “Overweight and obesity in 8-year-old Polish children in light of biological, behavioral and social conditions” shows that the prevalence of hypertension increases with age and after adolescence. It is already 10%. Population. The results of the research conducted among students of Gdansk schools showed that the proportion of children aged 8 to 12 years with arterial hypertension was 10.2%!

The recently published CBOS and KCPU Youth 2021 study shows worrying trends in the context of the consequences of distance learning – a growing group of children and young adults are spending more than 4 hours online. In general, the time spent on the Internet has been extended to 5 hours a day. That’s about 45 minutes. Longer than in 2018

Watching movies and series on the web and playing games online has increased significantly. Social contacts and listening to music also moved to the Internet. The number of young people who do not sleep due to the use of the Internet has also increased and consider life without this tool boring, empty and worthless.

Research already conducted in 2016 and published in 2018 titled “Adolescents, Communication, Electronic Media” showed that 8.7 percent of people exhibited a dangerous activity close to addiction. Fifth graders are as much as 15.8 percent. Seventh grade – This was the highest percentage that proves that children of this age easily become addicted. In middle schools, it was 14 percent. (There were children sitting down to study before exams), even less so in high schools – 10.5 percent.

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The popular belief that children remain physically active when they sit firmly is not true.

There are children who are very physically active, but spend a lot of time sitting still. It is up to the parents to ensure that the child does not sit for too long. You should limit the time you lie down with your mobile phone in your hand, without moving – Dr. Hanna Knights argues. – It is necessary to talk about the recommendations of the World Health Organization, because parents have no way of knowing how much activity their children need. The percentage that favored moderate activity in 2010 was 24.2%. Since then, it has been declining regularly – the researcher confirms.

Beata Egelska,


WF side of AWF

Summary of the Active Schools Program

World Health Organization website and physical activity

Report of the Public Health Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Information about HBSC on the website of the Mother and Child Institute
Youth and Media Handbook HBSC_2018.pdf

Student Health and Health Behavior Report 17.pdf

2016 – Results from the 2016 Polish Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth – PubMed (
2018 – Results from 2018 Polish Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth in: Journal of Physical Activity and Health Volume 15 Issue S2 (2018) (
2022 – Egerve | Free full text | Findings from Poland 2022 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth (


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