Nearly a third of the world's kids are overweight and sedentary, according to new research published in The Journal of Pediatrics. The study looked at 72,845 schoolchildren between the ages of 13 and 15 from countries around the world and concluded that modern technology is turning kids into couch potatoes.
Video games, TV viewing and computers were listed as dominant factors in leading kids to live sedentary lifestyles, and the problem isn't simply isolated to the United States and other developed nations.
"With regards to physical activity levels, we did not find much of a difference between poor and rich countries," Regina Guthold of the World Health Organization told Reuters. "Growing up in a poor country does not necessarily mean that kids get more physical activity."
The World Health Organization conducted the research, which defined adequate physical activity as one hour or more of exercise outside of school at least five days a week. Children who spent more than three hours per day in front of a computer or television were classified as sedentary.
According to the researchers, only 25 percent of the boys and 15 percent of the girls monitored were getting adequate exercise according to these guidelines. Twenty-five percent of boys and nearly 30 percent of girls were defined as sedentary and did not receive adequate exercise, with girls less active than boys in every country except for Zambia.
"Even with the limitations that questionnaire data (suffer) from, I guess it's pretty safe to say that we have a huge problem with physical inactivity among schoolchildren around the globe and that we should take action," Guthold told Reuters.