70% of Ghanaian children not having adequate physical activity – Report

Seventy percent of Children in Ghana are not moving enough to maintain healthy growth and development, according to a national report released today.

The report by the University of Ghana, Active Healthy Kids Ghana Alliance (AHKGhA) determined grade assignments based on the best available data, research and key issue areas from the past two years, resulting in the “2018 Ghana Report Card on Physical Activity Levels of Children and Youth” grades.

The report revealed that modern lifestyles – increases in screen time, the growing urbanization of communities and the rise in automation of previously manual tasks – are contributing to a pervasive public health problem that must be recognized as a national priority.

“National trends, including excessive screen time, are contributing to a generation of inactive children and putting them on a dangerous path,” said Professor Reginald Ocansey, Leader of the AHKGhA and Head of the Physical Education and Sport Studies department at the University of Ghana, Legon.  “We have a collective responsibility to change this because inactive children are at risk for adverse physical, mental, social and cognitive health problems. This generation will face a range of challenges, including the impacts of climate change, increasing globalization, and the consequences of rapid technological change. They will need to become habitually physically active in order to grow into healthy, resilient adults who can survive and thrive in a changing world.”

The AHKGhA involved 20 experts who produced the country report card, grading 10 common indicators related to the physical activity of children and youth. The resulting report examines national patterns and highlights how our national lack of attention to inactivity is affecting children’s physical activity levels. Increases in screen time and a growing reliance on technology are taking up crucial time that could be better spent engaged in a wide range of physical activities, and an increased use of motorized transport is changing physical activity levels nationally.

“Pushing back against these lifestyle shifts requires serious and conscious social and built engineering,” said Dr. Ocansey. “It will take many facets of society working together to shift behaviours to preserve and promote our children’s right to play, move and be active. We hope this report will be a call to action for all-concerned agencies/organizations in the country.”

The full report can be viewed here:

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