Konstantinos D. Tambalis


Physical activity (PA) has a wide range of benefits during childhood and adolescence including maintenance of energy balance and consequently a healthy weight healthy growth, development of the cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal system, avoidance of cardiovascular disease risk factors (e.g. hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes), and the opportunity for social interaction and academic achievement. Also, there is strong evidence that PA is important for children’s psychological well-being. These benefits remain unchanged in children of all body mass index categories (e.g. normal, overweight, and obese), and are also independent of gender, age, and health status. Children and adolescents with lower PA levels have a higher prevalence of psychological and emotional distress. In contrast, PA provides an important medium for children and adolescents to be successful and this helps to improve self-esteem, social wellbeing, and self-perceptions of body image and competence. Moreover, children with higher PA levels are also more likely to have better cognitive functioning. The health benefits provided by PA have been observed in several health domains and can be generally placed into three categories: (a) mental, social, and PA benefits during childhood/adolescence; (b) health benefits of childhood PA that carry over to adulthood and; (c) PA ‘track’ from childhood to adulthood. Because of limitations in the scientific evidence data, it is not achievable to draw definitive conclusions relating to the optimal doses of PA needed to create health benefits in separate health outcomes. Nonetheless, worldwide recommendations proposed that significant health benefits can be expected to build up to most children and adolescents who participate in 60 or more minutes of moderate to vigorous PA, per day. Moreover, must be included specific types of PA in an overall PA pattern to add comprehensive health benefits.


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