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An overview of Physical Activity, Health and Youth
Mittwoch, 30. Januar 2013 um 06:02

Andre Müller
University of Suwon, South Korea

Selina Khoo  
University of Malaya, Malaysia

Abstract
The World Health Organization (2010) recommended that young people aged 18 and older should be physically active for at least 150 min per week in order to gain general health benefits. Research has shown that physical activity has a positive effect on health and society. Positive effects of physical activity are not limited to physiological parameters like aerobic fitness, but also promote psychological and social health. International research shows that regular physical activity participation is decreasing globally, especially in young people between adolescence and early adulthood.
During this phase, many young people face new life conditions, like marriage or first employment, which markedly affect their participation in physical activity. This trend is more significant for women, due to multiple responsibilities and gender roles in most societies. The shortage of sports facilities, passive transportation and the wide range of sedentary leisure time activities also negatively influence physical activity participation.
International and national policy makers need to take action to educate and encourage physical activity among the population. These actions should be multisectoral, multidisciplinary, culturally relevant and mindful of social norms. One promising way to encourage physical activity in young people can be seen in the use of mass media. Sao Paulo in Brazil is a trailblazer in initiating a huge campaign (Agita Sao Paulo) involving more than 300 institutions collaborating with multiple stakeholders that resulted in increased physical activity among the population. This program proves that the involvement of communities, universities and families is crucial to reach young people in various circumstances. However, the process of listening to, and learning from youth concerning promotion and implementation of physical activity programmes is still in its infancy. As more effective information delivery processes are developed to inform the hidden, but large population of young people between adolescence and early adulthood physical activity participation may be expected to increase.

 

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