Kiwi kids rate second in the world for physical activity

Kiwi kids rate as the second most physically active kids in the world, behind Slovenian kids, the latest global physical activity report shows.

The worldwide Report Cards analyse the physical activity of children and youth in 38 countries from six continents (representing 60 per cent of the world’s population).

One of the lead researchers for the NZ Report Card, associate professor Melody Smith says in a press release, “Using nationally representative data, around two thirds of children and young people are considered sufficiently active for health, but there is a substantial age-related decline in this prevalence”.

For overall physical activity, the grade range was A- for five to nine-year-olds, B- for 10 to 14-year-olds, and C- for 15 to 18-year-olds.

“I think it’s worth noting that although we rated highly, there is still lots of room for improvement,” Dr Smith told Healthy Food Guide.

“The overall activity score was highly skewed because almost all of our younger children (aged 5-9 years) are sufficiently active for health, but this drops significantly with age, to the point that only around a third of our adolescents are sufficiently active.

“Also there is lots of room to improve in other indicators, especially active transportation, where we didn’t do so well,” she says.

New Zealand’s physical activity guidelines for children and youth state that children and youth (aged 5 to 18 years) should accumulate 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) daily.

The full NZ results were:

  • Overall physical activity B-
  • Organised sport participation C+
  • Active play B-
  • Active transportation C
  • Sedentary behaviours C
  • Family and peers C
  • School C+
  • Community and environment B
  • Government strategies and investments B-


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First published: November 2016

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