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too sedentary children, pediatricians ‘more sport, less TV and cell phones’

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Rome, November 24th (Adnkronos Salute) – Relaunching school-age sport, after two years of the pandemic, to combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle in the very young. This was stated by the experts of the Bambino Gesù Institute for Childhood and Adolescent Health in Rome in the latest magazine ‘Health school – The role of sport in children’ published today.

“The two years marked by the pandemic and the restrictions at home have significantly increased the spread of a sedentary lifestyle in all age groups, but especially in the pediatric age group – warn the specialists -. According to the National Adolescent Observatory, among the the causes that lead young people not to practice any sport are laziness and lack of will (51%), while excessive school work discourages 29% and economic reasons 5%”. This is why the experts of the Bambino Gesù insist on the need to “resume physical and sporting activity for the youngest, which is essential for many reasons. Sport helps to develop motor skills and relational skills, to get involved by working in a group and to overcome one’s own limits. Fewer cell phones and computers and more exercise is the recommendation for all parents.”

At what age can you start sports? “Soon, but evaluating the physical and emotional maturity of each child”, respond the experts of the Bambino Gesù who recommend differentiated activities and team sports based on age groups. “Between 6 and 8 it is good to start with individual activities such as swimming or gymnastics; between 8 and 13 you can practice team sports such as football, rugby and basketball and also disciplines that require coordination such as tennis and judo – they recall – Attention to the sports certification required by law for both competitive and non-competitive activity which can only be issued by specific professional figures”.

“Go ahead, therefore, for aerobic physical exercise (bicycle, running, skating, dancing and team games such as football, basketball, volleyball, hockey) and swimming for children with bronchial asthma: with some precautions – for example recovery intervals in case of high intensity exercise – physical activity improves their symptoms and reduces the use of drugs and the number of hospitalizations – emphasize the pediatricians – Low intensity and long duration aerobic activity is also suitable to children with arterial hypertension, a disease that affects 5% of the population between the ages of 12 and 19. An excellent solution for them is represented by swimming which allows you to reduce the pressure given by the body weight”.

In some cases, sport is necessary to prevent children from aggravating their pathologies. “This is the case of patients with congenital heart disease who, due to the overprotective attitude of their parents, are exposed to the risk of becoming sedentary children and developing further diseases related to a sedentary lifestyle – they observe – Studies have instead shown that there are no real contraindications to aerobic practice by adjusting the intensity of the effort. The data are not yet unequivocal on the possibility of making them practice anaerobic activities (climbing, jumping, gymnastics) or at high intensity”.

Physical activity is essential for obese kids “who need to change their eating habits and sedentary lifestyles to deal with a disease that affects around 50 million girls and 74 million boys aged between 5 and 19 years old Swimming is ideal and also an aerobic activity such as brisk walking and cycling”, conclude the pediatricians.

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