Is a high-tech lifestyle damaging our kids' physical development?

A high-tech lifestyle could be damaging our children's physical development.

Only 11% of adolescents tested recently had mastered movements considered normal development for a younger child aged six.

The finding has prompted the largest study of its kind anywhere in the world, to examine the underlying factors.

DCU Professor Noel O'Conor said he was concerned that Irish children were falling seriously behind when it came to basic physical skills incuding running, jumping, kicking and catching.

"It manifests itself much later in a whole variety of health problems from diabetes to cardio-vascular disease and obesity," he said.

"We don't want to be alarmist, but at the same time this is a serious challenge that we need to address.

"What we're trying to do with this (research) project is to figure out from a scientific basis how to inject a change in behaviour into the process to ensure this doesn’t continue."

He said we used to think that children acquired these skills naturally, but "it turns out these skills have to be learned".

"With an increase in a sedentary lifestyle, there is less opportunity for children to learn these skills…The knock-of effect is that if they don't learn these skills they won't enjoy physical activity.

"The net result is we have less active children."

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