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PH Teens Rank 2nd Most Physically Inactive In The World, According To WHO Research

The Philippines comes in second to South Korea.

A World Health Organization research that surveyed 1.5 million teens in 146 countries has named Filipino youths as the second most physically inactive in the world next to South Korea.

The country got 93.4 percent in terms of "physical inactivity prevalence" in the first global study on physical inactivity among teens. South Korea topped the list with a 94.2 percent.

According to the study, 81 percent (or four out of five) of teens aged between 11 to17 in 2016 did not reach the WHO recommended minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activities. These activities include physical education classes, biking, and walking.

Dr. Regina Guthold, the lead author of the study which was published in Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, shared that while mobile phone use can be blamed for this rate, the state of society in general is also a culprit: "It’s not the individuals [who] are to be blamed. It’s more often society, the environment that makes them—forces them almost—to be inactive."


She said that the lack of public spaces where teens can be physically active is a good example. Guthold shared that a shortage of safe sidewalks where youths can walk or bike has a big impact on the lifestyle of this age group.

The WHO has stated that the lack of physical activity is one of the four major causes of diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular ailments. The organization also said that people living in major urban areas are more prone to becoming physically inactive because of the lack of parks, sporting facilities, and green spaces.

Filipino boys ranked as the most inactive globally in the WHO survey, ranking 92.8 percent in their age group. Filipino girls ranked second at 94.1 percent.

The study also showed that while there is a slight improvement worldwide for boys in terms of physical activity rate, there was none for girls between 2001 and 2016. Globally, the rate of insufficient physical activity of boys decreased from 80 percent to 78 percent while the rate for girls remained at 85 percent.

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Dr. Leanne Riley, the co-author of the study, urged for the prompt address to the problem. “The trend of girls being less active than boys is concerning. More opportunities to meet the needs and interests of girls are needed to attract and sustain their participation in physical activity through adolescence and into adulthood.”

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