The World Health Organization recommends that children and adolescents get one hour of physical activity a day, or twice thirty minutes a day. The benefits of physical education and sports have been demonstrated. Sport is recognized as a tool for educational success. “When a child engages in physical activity, his cognitive functions improve, and he performs better at school”, recalls François Carré, cardiologist and sports doctor.
→ READ. Young French people do not exercise enough
On the other hand, we do not insist enough on the importance of practicing physical exercise on a daily basis, to fight against the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. However, this scourge, even more worrying when it affects children and adolescents, is worsening significantly in this period of health crisis which slows down or cancels activities and increases the time spent in front of screens. Clearly, underlines Professor Carré, “Doing five hours of sport on Saturday or Sunday, then remaining seated for twelve hours in front of your screen, the other days of the week, is to be a sedentary athlete” !
Run, jump, throw, dance
Beyond seven hours a day, physical inactivity, in other words a sedentary lifestyle, entails health risks. Among them, overweight and obesity which affect 17% of children (against 3% in the 1960s), effects on blood pressure, cognitive functions, and a predisposition to type 2 diabetes. In two thirds of cases , these overweight children will also be adults. “The health capital that is forged during the young years has fallen by 25% in forty years”, alert François Carré. With inevitable repercussions on the life expectancy of the younger generations.
Faced with this alarming observation, the Paris 2024 Olympic club associated with the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports are launching an experiment of thirty minutes of daily physical activity in the primary schools of several academies (1). This program consists of four actions: running, jumping, throwing, dancing.
Parents, an essential role
According to Jean-Marc Serfaty, academic inspector of Créteil, “It is quite simply a question of using the playgrounds and the playgrounds to indulge in simple playful exercises, included in school time”. Putting the body back in motion helps to strengthen learning, promote attention and sleep, rebalance the school day.
→ THE FACTS. No need for a medical certificate for the sport of minors
Of course, parents also have a vital role, if only by setting an example and encouraging their children to complete the other half of the daily contract (thirty minutes). Favoring walking, riding a bike, playing ball or dancing in the middle of the living room are some good habits to take with the family on occasion or in the interstices of confinement.