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Young Britons risk their health due to lack of exercise

  • British teenagers are near the top of a European league for the use of gadgets
  • Girls, espeically in Scotland have the highest rate of device use in Europe 
  • One fifth of boys in England, Scotland and Wales exercised for at least one hour
  • The figure is worse for girls with only 12 per cent exercising for at least an hour

Ben Spencer Medical Correspondent For The Daily Mail

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British teenagers have become ‘slaves to hand-held devices’, experts warn today as a major report puts the UK near the top of a European league table for gadget use.

There has been a huge rise in the use of tablets, smartphones and computers, a World Health Organisation report into adolescent obesity says.

Girls in Britain are said to be of particular concern, with Scots aged 11 to 15 ranking the highest out of 42 European countries for device use. Welsh girls came fourth and those in England came seventh.

79 per cent of teen girls in Scotland use phones or tablets more than two hours on a week day

79 per cent of teen girls in Scotland use phones or tablets more than two hours on a week day

The new figures show that more than 80 per cent of boys in Wales and Scotland use their mobiles, tablets or even computers for more than two hours on a weekday  

The new figures show that more than 80 per cent of boys in Wales and Scotland use their mobiles, tablets or even computers for more than two hours on a weekday  

Boys are only a little better, with Wales second in the list, Scotland third and England 15th. The report, due to be presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Portugal today, said the problem wreaked havoc with teenagers’ health, driving up rates of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

It also found only about a fifth of boys in England, Wales and Scotland met the Government recommendation of exercising for at least an hour a day.

The figure is worse for girls, with only 14 per cent in Scotland and 12 per cent in England and Wales hitting the target.

The authors warned of a ‘continuous steep increase’ in technology use among teenagers of both sexes, going up by half over the past 15 years. For girls of 15, however, the rise was particularly dramatic – having tripled in the same period, which experts blame on social media.

Just two weeks’ lazing could lead to ill-health 

Just two weeks without exercise could raise the risk of developing serious disease, scientists have found.

They said 14 days of inactivity can cause metabolic changes that reduce muscle and raise body fat and the risk of high cholesterol.

It suggests even a brief stint as a couch potato – defined as an 85 per cent reduction in activity – could raise the risk of type 2 diabetes and premature death.

Scientists from the University of Liverpool said people should take at least 10,000 steps a day. The team, who present the findings at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto today, tracked 28 young people for two weeks after they cut their activity from 10,000 steps to 1,500.

They lost an average 0.8lb of muscle, while their central body fat rose by 1 per cent.

Steven Ward, of the not-for-profit group UK Active, said: ‘Physical inactivity is society’s silent killer. Even short bouts can lead to deadly diseases.’

 

Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘Adolescents are now slaves to hand-held devices and this is doing nothing for their health.

The WHO report by scientists at the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland, warns: ‘Sedentary behaviours dominate adolescents’ daily lives today. Young people spend approximately 60 per cent of their waking time sitting, making sedentary behaviour the most common behaviour besides sleep.’

The WHO collated responses from more than 200,000 pupils in 42 countries, including 5,335 in England, 5,932 in Scotland and 5,154 in Wales. More than three quarters of British teenagers spend more than two hours a day using a computer, tablet or phone on weekdays.

The 2014 data shows that in England 74.6 per cent of girls aged 11 to 15 and 76.5 per cent of boys used a device for two or more hours. In Scotland, it was 79.9 per cent of girls and 83.6 per cent of boys, and in Wales there were 76.4 per cent of girls and 84.6 per cent of boys – all more than a 50 per cent rise on 2002.

When split by age, it showed 50 per cent of 11-year-olds spend two hours on devices.

Lead author Dr Jo Inchley said the rise in social media was having an impact on young people.

She said: ‘This kind of activity is so much part of young people’s lives, how do we manage this and the health risks associated with it? We need to address these challenges now.’

Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, of the WHO, said: ‘One in three adolescents is overweight or obese in Europe. Governments must break this harmful cycle from childhood to adolescence.’

Sarah James, of the World Cancer Research Fund, said: ‘The time children spend sitting down is incredibly worrying. This could contribute to putting on excess weight, which can significantly increase the risk of 11 common cancers.’

 


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Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4512968/Young-Britons-risk-health-lack-exercise.html

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