Czech children are more active than most of their peers abroad, according to a new major international study.
According to The Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study, Czech children aged 11 to 15 are among the most active in their leisure time compared to their peers in other countries, with 86 percent of them participating in sports, arts, and other healthy activities.
The HBSC study is one of the largest data sources on children’s and adolescents´ lifestyles in the world. In the Czech Republic, 230 schools with about 13,000 children aged 11, 13, and 15 took part in the study. Eight other countries also participated in the survey.
How kids spend their time
Study results show that 14 percent of Czech children do not participate in any leisure time activities, the lowest amount of all countries surveyed.
Poland is the worst in this respect, with 30 percent of children not participating in any healthy leisure activities.
According to the study, most adolescent Czechs fill their free time with team and individual sports or artistic activities. Among the boys, team sports predominate (58 percent) while girls prefer spending time with artistic activities (60 percent).
Besides organized activities, children are often active with their families. Approximately 40 percent of Czech adolescents engage in sports with their parents at least once a week, representing a marked improvement from previous findings. Thirty years ago, it was only 30 percent.
According to experts, a child’s activity level is highly dependent on their family environment.
Hooked on devices
Electronic devices and the Internet also play an important role in young people’s lives today. Nineteen percent of Czech boys and 15 percent of girls spend four hours or more watching TV and videos on weekdays, and a third of boys and 27 percent of girls on weekends.
About a quarter of the Czech boys spend a similar amount of time playing video games on weekdays. Girls prefer spending time on social media. Time devoted to these activities increases with age. This young generation also often manages to combine several activities simultaneously.
The HBSC research, citing the World Health Organization, indicates that excessive time spent using a computer, watching television or using a smartphone contributes to obesity, poor sleep, and increases the likelihood of depression.
Conversely, children who participate in healthy leisure-time activities enjoy higher life satisfaction and are more successful at school. They also are less likely to smoke or drink alcohol than other more active adolescents.