More than 80% of global teens don't get at least one hour of daily exercise, according to a UN health agency study. The findings have implications for physical and mental health as well as youth education.
Teenagers worldwide do not get enough exercise, compromising their current and future health, the World Health Organization said Friday.
The study conducted by the UN health agency found 81% of adolescents aged between 11 and 17 fail to get at least one hour of moderate to intense daily physical activity such as walking, riding a bike or playing sports.
Read more: Inactivity puts adults worldwide at risk of disease
"Four in every five adolescents do not experience the enjoyment and social, physical, and mental health benefits of regular physical activity," said Fiona Bull, an activity and health specialist and a co-author of the work.
The report on global trends for adolescent physical activity — the first of its kind — is based on survey data collected on 1.6 million students from 146 countries and territories between 2001 and 2015.
The findings are troubling because physical activity is associated with better heart and respiratory functioning, mental health and cognitive activity, which have implications for student learning. Exercise, along with healthy eating, is also viewed by experts as key to controlling a global obesity epidemic.