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Posted by: Sportslink on 07/27/2016

Our kids score 'average' on fitness scale

Our kids score 'average'  on fitness scale

Cardiovascular fitness is the key and our kids get a D minus score on international rankings, said to be an 'average' score.

So says new research from the University of South Australia which also showed their aerobic fitness had dropped off by up to five percent each decade since the 1970s.

The University of South Australia is leading international studies to examine the cardio-respiratory fitness of more than 1.1 million children aged nine to 17 from 50 countries and found that Aussie kids are average.

International rankings on the results of 20 metre shuttle-run data have not yet been released, reports researcher Grant Tomkinson. He is a senior lecturer in the School of Health Sciences at the University of South Australia and reports a lifelong interest in health and fitness.

They follow a study on fitness, released in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which found 66 per cent of boys had a cardio-respiratory fitness rate within healthy limits, only half of girls achieved this, with less than 20 percent completing the recom­mended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day.

There are big disparities across the world and in how clusters of countries perform, with Australia mid-range, however, the aerobic fitness of Australian children has dropped off by around five percent per decade since the 1970s.

Children today are about 15 percent less aerobically fit than their parent were at the same age, he says.

While cardiovascular fitness was linked to performance in sports, it is also a measure of health overall. Results support a report that found, while up to 85 percent of Australian children were participating in organised sport in 2014, physical activity levels were dropping, reports researcher Tomkinson.

The growing “iPad generation” is blamed for driving a decline in activity, with only about 33 percent of children meeting the recommended target of no more than two hours of screen time a day.

The report also showed a decline in the fitness of children entering elite development programmes with its impact on our international results inevitable, he says.

• Pictured: Kids ready to participate in an organised cycle ride on the Gold Coast.