The extent of the time spent in front of screens and without physical activity causes risks to the health of two-thirds of young people today in France, alarms the National Agency for National Food Safety (Anses) in an opinion issued on Monday, based on data collected even before confinements.
Among these dangers are overweight and obesity, cardiovascular risks or diabetes, but also poor quality sleep, lists the National Health Security Agency (ANSES). “What worries us, and that is why we are launching an alert to the public authorities, is that among adolescents between 11 and 17 years old, two thirds of them (66%) are particularly exposed to health risks, simply because they have more than two hours of screen per day and because they are less than one hour of physical activity per day, these are danger thresholds “, explains to AFP the head of the health agency’s nutrition risk assessment unit, Irene Margaritis.
17% classified in an even more risky category
17% of this age group are classified in an even more risky category, which accumulates less than 20 minutes of physical activity per day and more than 4h30 of sedentary lifestyle, underlines ANSES, which is based on the data of a study she carried out in 2017, called Inca3. “At that age, we know that these behaviors are the bedrock of pathologies that we will encounter in adulthood. And these lifestyle habits, in terms of sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity, we know that we will find them in adulthood “, develops Irène Margaritis. In its opinion, ANSES underlines that “Children and adolescents from families with low income or low educational level appear to be the most affected by high levels of sedentary lifestyle”. Another observation, physical activity “which appears lower in girls in the 11-14 age group”.
Behaviors amplified with confinements
ANSES is sounding the alert as the spring and fall confinements are further worrying about physical inactivity and the time teenagers spend in front of screens. “We must rethink the place of physical activity in our lives, both temporally and spatially. The rhythms of life make it very difficult to have a physical activity outside of school time” in adolescence, emphasizes Ms. Margaritis, “but we must also ask the question of town planning, transport, the possibility of getting around by bike or on foot in the cities”. “Physical activity and reducing sedentary lifestyle is not a plus, it is a necessity”, she concludes.