Children are living less active lives these days.
Children are living less active lives these days.

Fat and lazy: How we have failed our children

KIDS today are less fit and heavier than their parents at the same age.

New research lays bare the shocking extent of how health has declined in just one generation.

Adolescent boys are on ­average 10-13kg heavier than their dads and girls weigh ­between 8-11kg more than their mums.

The drop in aerobic fitness was more evident in teenage girls, but boys also showed lower fitness levels when body weight was factored in.

The study from the University of Otago gathered data from 15-year-olds in 1986-87 and the same measures were obtained from 15-year-olds from 2007 and 2015.

"Sedentary behaviours such as screen use are increasingly displacing physical activity and contributing to the epidemic of obesity. Our findings indicate that these changes have been accompanied by a decline in physical fitness," the study authors concluded.

More than one-quarter of Queensland children are overweight or obese - some morbidly obese.

Nature Play Queensland program manager Hyano Moser said that the findings were alarming.

Eli, 12, Noah, 9, with Mum Madeline Avci keep active on the backyard trampoline. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Eli, 12, Noah, 9, with Mum Madeline Avci keep active on the backyard trampoline. Picture: Nigel Hallett

"We know children in ­Australia are not getting their recommended physical activity and this can be attributed to the decline in self-directed outdoor play. Unlike past generations where a child's leisure time was largely centred around self-directed physical adventures, such as roaming their neighbourhoods playing with other kids, today's leisure time is often spent inside," Mr Moser said.

Sandgate's Madeline Avci is the mother of three boys and says she has to put effort into making sure her boys are active and eat well.

"When I was young, all the neighbourhood kids would be outside on our 'pretend' MCG grounds," she said.

"Being active was part of life and the most amount of junk we had was a 20-cent bag of lollies."



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